Breaking the Cycle Is a Group Effort.
Hope Connection International (HCI) is a multi-faceted recovery and prevention center that connects with non-profits worldwide to empower survivors of abuse and addiction by offering free support groups, classes, and sponsorships with tailored solutions, along with supportive, long-term housing.
We are trying to reach young people at a time in their lives before they become lifetime addicts, criminals, or abusers. "Hurting people hurt people"; hence, our philosophy is to help young people through the healing process from whatever issues have hindered them in life so that they become healthy, well-adjusted, contributing members of society. We want them to experience the powerful healing of Christ so they will be able to impact others.
No matter what has happened to you or what you've been through, there is HOPE.
PHASE I: Support Groups -- (Since 2012)
Mending the Soul classes offered for domestic violence and abuse recovery; this program also addresses any victims who witnessed abuse, were abandoned as children, or who need further healing from past trauma to strengthen their marriages and families.
PHASE II: Community Care Center -- (Since 2014)
Our Community Care Center offers free support groups and enrichment classes, reaching out to parents and teens with crisis prevention resources, as well as after-care support for victims of domestic violence, loved ones of addicts, and others, with education and resources to promote the healing process.
PHASE III: Deja Vu Furniture And Home Decor -- (Since 2017)
A used furniture and home decor thrift store to support Hope Connection in its cause to provide assistance to survivors of abuse and addiction. Location: 1301-B Buck Jones Road, Raleigh, NC 27606
PHASE IV: Supportive Housing -- (Fundraising in Progress)
Provide a supportive housing center for victims of domestic violence who are in distress. Supply these women and their children with all of the tools they need to be successful on their own: education, child care, support groups, legal assistance, and a safe place to live. Programs will be milestone-based rather than time-based. Additionally, provide a long term transitional housing program for those recovering from addiction: a yurt home community, free from temptation, that will guide reformed addicts back into society as productive citizens. An offer has been made and accepted on the property and we have until January 2019 to raise the funds.
Debra Barkett is the founder and president of Hope Connection International, which obtained 501(c)3 non-profit status in July of 2012. Hope Connection originated out of Clayton, North Carolina, in Johnston County, but is now based in Wake County, North Carolina.
Debra has a Master's degree in Education with minors in Psychology, Bible, English, and Business.
After almost twenty years of teaching young people in our educational system, working in church youth ministries across the country, and volunteering with inner city Chicago teenagers, God has given Debra a passion to reach the needs of our future generation today in real and practical ways.
Many teens and young adults in our culture today have a need to share deep hurts and find healthy ways to cope with devastating issues in their lives. Debra has a heart to reach these young people before they go too far down the wrong path and guide them to the power and peace they can experience through the healing love of Christ and others who are there to support them.
Greg is an Internet Product Specialist for Hendrick Toyota of Apex in Apex, NC. He works with a team to meet the vehicle needs of a booming population growth in the area. Prior to the last few years, Greg was in Information Technology contract staffing and an Advanced Services Manager for Cisco Systems where he had global responsibilities for AS Academy, a talent creation and development organization.
In addition to his vast experience, Greg spent many years as a leader in the Boy Scouts organization. In his own words, "I got much more than I gave to the Scouts, seeing boys grow into young men with outstanding morals and the knowledge to be self sufficient."
One of Greg's previous employees said this: "Greg is an excellent leader who is able to adapt and navigate change; he is able to coach and mentor those that need extra help, and has a natural ability to quickly read and understand people. One of my favorite things about Greg is how he cares about those around him. He never just listens, but is truly interested, and it shows. Greg brings all of these traits together in a modest and effective style of leadership."
Greg's children, Mason and Miranda, are both at Appalachian State University. Greg lives in Apex, NC with his wife Barbara.
Diane is a Duke University graduate with a degree in Computer Science and Economics, a teacher who initiated robotics program at a local high school, a volunteer for multiple non-profit organizations, an entrepreneur, and a substitute teacher for Wake County public schools.
Diane is a software design professional with experience in designing, documenting, coding and testing telecommunications software as well as information technology software. Diane is detailed oriented and passionate about her craft.
Diane has enjoyed being active in her church working with children's ministries such as choir, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School as well as women's group ministries. She helped start a quilting group at her church, Resurrection Lutheran, to make quilts to be distributed around the world through Lutheran World Relief. Diane has been active Leader in La Leche League, a breastfeeding support group, for many years. Through membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution and Colonial Dames 17th Century, Diane supports educational and historical efforts.
Diane oversees volunteer opportunities related to our fundraising partnership with Duke University sporting events.
James Herrington grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and is a student at Wake Tech. James has worked seasonally for 7 years with Cherry Hill Photography operating and managing their holiday photo sets at two local malls. This has given him experience in the retail sales field, photography and working with the public.
James has a deep interest in technology, computers and software. He enjoys serving others by helping with their technology needs, such as helping them with selecting, purchasing and setting up equipment. He has also built and hosted an internet game server for a group of friends. He has several years’ experience as a sound board technician at his church and for the theater department at his high school.
When he can, James enjoys hanging out with friends and playing role-playing games.
Benjamin Weston joined Hope Connection International in September of 2016. He is the son of Debra Barkett and was born and raised in Clayton, North Carolina. Benjamin, now twenty-five years old, struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction for over nine years and was able to admit himself into a two-year, residential treatment program out of Durham, North Carolina. He completed the program in late August of 2016.
He brings a unique set of skills to Hope Connection, with over eight years of sales and customer service experience.
Benjamin has a passion to help individuals, families, and many others that have experienced any substance abuse related issues. He is able to communicate with the younger generation of individuals experimenting with drugs and alcohol, on a personal level.
He loves the Lord with all of his heart and is driven to share with others how God gave him a chance to start a new life, clean and sober.
Rick Wahlers is a Director of Data Management at GlaxoSmithKline (RTP). He has worked in Information Technology at GSK for the past 20 years.
Rick's educational background spans science, technology, and business. Three years after his undergraduate degree, he pursued a Masters where he conducted lab research, presented and published his work. After a short stint with a startup company, Rick joined GSK and later earned an MBA in NC State's first graduating class (2002).
Rick enjoys spending time with his family. He and his lovely wife, DeAnna, have two sons. Justin is a student at UNC Chapel Hill and serves as Associate Director at Hope Connection International. Ryan is a senior at Grace Christian School.
Rick also serves as an administrative official for USA Swimming and volunteers in a hospice organization providing respite, companionship, and support for patients and families.
Justin Wahlers is an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a major in Psychology.
Growing up in the Raleigh area, Justin attended GRACE Christian School where he graduated Salutatorian of his class and served as student body president. Introduced to HCI through his teacher, Debra Barkett, Justin became captivated with the mission and vision of Hope Connection. Over the summer of 2016, he volunteered part-time, taking on administrative tasks of recording program statistics and constructing electronic files of organizational documents. The next summer, Justin assumed additional administrative responsibilities.
Appointed to the Board of Directors in July 2017, he devotes himself to the Hope Connection vision through organization management, community partnerships, grant writing, donation reporting, marketing, and fundraising coordination. Justin looks forward to the day when Hope Connection can provide long-term housing to domestic violence survivors.
In his spare time, Justin completes his classwork; coaches a summer-league swim team; and runs or swims for exercise. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in Psychology in the future.
Founder + President
Sr. Director, Development
Business Consultants: Cindy Leonard, Chuck Hinton, Rex Vick, Jayme Dimitroff, Larry Gilson, Daniel Wakin, Jackie Wakin, Jackie McKenzie
Web Administrator: Jeff and Jake Barnhill
Property Consultant: Cindy Leonard
Accountant: Nell Ban
Former Board Members
Sandy Reynolds Jones
Charter Board Members
Stephanie Jones Caddell