Stamper finds purpose with Hope Restorations

You might think the life of a pageant queen is all glitz and glam, but East Carolina University junior Bailey Stamper is changing that perception with hammers and nails as an intern at Hope Restorations Inc. in Kinston.

The 2018 Miss Goldsboro Pageant winner found a home with a ministry that builds homes, offering second chances to those that have stared down their demons.

The organization, founded in 2016 by Sharon United Methodist Church Pastor Chris Jenkins, provides home renovation jobs for men who were incarcerated or recovering from drug and alcohol addictions.

Stamper, whose father is a minister, saw Hope Restorations as the perfect fit as part of the SECU Public Fellows Internship Program.

“I’m an Access Scholar, so I actually found out about the program through our newsletter,” Stamper said. “This particular internship stood out to me because it’s something I could relate to. Growing up, we led an event called Mission Goldsboro where we went into underprivileged areas and hosted vacation Bible schools. While that’s really different from construction and the work that Hope Restorations does, it’s really all about offering new opportunities and a chance to restore yourself.”

Stamper and Chris Jenkins, founder and executive pastor of Hope Restorations, secure
60 auction items during Stamper’s internship for the ministry’s annual summer fundraising event.

While Stamper isn’t out with the construction crew placing new bathroom tile or pulling out old pipes, she has found a purpose with the ministry and helps in other ways.

Stamper assisted the organization with its annual summer fundraising dinner, contacting businesses for sponsorships, picking up auction items, and sending invoices and contribution letters. The experience was invaluable for Stamper, who wants to one day lead her own nonprofit.

“Just learning how expenses are broken down, how to keep track of everything, how to interact with clients, and how to look for and write grants is vital to what I want to do in the future,” Stamper said. “It’s been very informational and having an internship like this really sets you apart because it shows employers that you’ve accomplished something outside of the classroom.”

The fundraising dinner was a success for Hope Restorations, bringing in 60 auction items and nearly 150 attendees. It also led to volunteer registrations, an important piece of the organization’s foundation.

Jenkins said that the opportunities that Hope Restorations has provided in its three years are critical to the rehabilitation of its workers who have faced life-altering struggles. Jenkins started the ministry after this son, Tate, died in 2013. Today, Hope Restorations has a crew of up to 20 men restoring homes for Kinston residents in North Carolina, with dreams of helping up to 40 men a year.

“Helping this specific community was something I innately knew I wanted to do, even before my son became involved in drugs,” Jenkins said. “However, it’s something I felt at a much deeper level after going through that experience. People that are struggling with things that society says are ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ still have good in them.

“Our society complains that we want these men to quit doing drugs and stay out of jail, but on the other hand we say, ‘Oh, we’re not going to hire them,” he said. “Somebody has to bridge that gap. We just happened to figure out that there’s a need for quality housing in Kinston. The guys we’re supplying jobs see that there is something good they can offer the community. Everyone benefits.”

Stamper said one of her favorite parts of the internship has been getting to know the crew.

“Every Tuesday the crew has lunch together,” she said. “Being able to meet and talk to people who I might never have gotten to know if it wasn’t through this internship has allowed me to grow. It’s been nice to see the guys in the organization grow as well and continue to change Kinston for the better.”

Jenkins agreed and added that having ECU be part of the mission of Hope Restoration’s mission is significant.

“The entire community has to own this venture,” Jenkins said. “Having ECU along with us on this journey is special to us.”