Ricou Williams knows what it means to suffer from substance abuse. He’s been there. He also knows what it takes to kick it.
He wants others to get there, too.
Williams, a Charlotte native who recently moved to Clover, is hosting a Walk for Recovery on Aug. 23 at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church in Steele Creek. He’s hoping the money raised from participants who walk and corporate donations will help his vision. He’s hoping churches will get a feel for his plan, and people struggling will get prayer and support.
“I just feel the need to be serving in this community,” Williams said.
New Life Purpose Christian Ministries is a new venture, similar to others Williams worked with in Florida and elsewhere. He wants to establish The Lord Our Righteousness Help Center, a six- to 18-month transitional housing program focusing on substance abuse, job training and placement, mental health, anger management and related issues.
“We’re looking to establish this program in the south end of Charlotte,” he said. “We want to do it somewhere close to the Steele Creek area.”
For more than a year Williams worked with New Beginnings Baptist Church in Clover, which has a shelter and food service program. Pastor Sam Thompson at New Beginnings commends and applauds efforts to put people in stable housing, and help them overcome personal afflictions like Williams is proposing.
“It is something that is needed,” Thompson said.
Like Williams with substance abuse, Thompson has a close sense of what the people he works with endure. In January he and wife Annie lost their home in a fire, causing them to live at the shelter while a new one went up.
So Thompson understands how someone who went through it can help, which is what he’s hoping for Williams.
“We’re walking in the shoes of others who have been through this, and it’s teaching us better how to reach out,” Thompson said.
By partnering faith-based groups, Williams wants to catch the people who might otherwise fall through the system. The people he wants to serve often don’t stay in the same spot long, and public support agencies have all sorts of residency and other rules that could limit some people locally, Williams said.
“We find a lot of people fall through the cracks,” he said.
One faith group already helping is Relevant Church. J.C. Ajemian heads local missions at Relevant. He sees the upcoming event and program as a way to raise awareness of local ministries and services that exist to help.
“Relevant is committed to this community and we want to collaborate with ministries focused on helping people come to know Christ, and then be successful at recovery and life,” Ajemian said.
There’s also hope others might see the faith community reaching out, and be inspired to do the same.
“It’s our prayer that they do well,” Thompson said. “Everybody that wants to help somebody, we want them to be able to do it, and do it well.”