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: Social Enterprise Business -- (Now Open!)
A social enterprise project to open a used furniture and home decor store. The business plan is in place, commercial space has been temporarily retained, and we are raising funds to open this new business permanently that will support us and boost us into the next phase of our vision. The space we have retained is where we hold our current Furniture Sale events.
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.
Founder + President
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 Chartier is a National Account Director for Collabera, Inc., out of Morristown, NJ. He directs his team of account executives in Information Technology contract staffing for global companies. Prior to the last few years at GDH, Greg was an Advanced Services (AS) Senior Manager for Cisco Systems. Greg had global responsibilities for AS Academy, a talent creation and talent development organization, along with business engagement for all of AS.
In addition to his vast expertise, Greg has always had a heart for mentoring young men, as seen in his involvement with the Boy Scouts Organization for the last ten years. In his words, “I get much more than I give to the Scouts, seeing boys turn into young men with the knowledge to be self sufficient and have outstanding morals. What a GREAT program! My son and I went backpacking in the Rocky Mountains this summer with a group of Scouts for two full weeks…”
Greg is very active and involved in the lives of his own children, Mason and Miranda, and has also personally mentored two young men in the Scouts program. One of his co-workers said this: "Greg is an excellent leader who is able to adapt and navigate change; he's able to coach and mentor those who may 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; Greg really is interested, and it shows. Greg brings all of these traits together in a modest and effective style of leadership."
Suzy Jacques was born and raised in London, England, and came to the US at the age of 21. She studied Travel and Tourism Management in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and has worked for two major tour operators, as well as American Express Platinum Travel. She has also spent several years in the Customer Service field and is currently employed as a Group Service Advisor for Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC.
Suzy faithfully served at Hope Community Church in the Singles Ministry on the Leadership and Planning teams and loved to see how so many lives were changed through that ministry. She is an avid fan of the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Heat. She lives with her adult son, Willy, and her furry "daughter" Casey in Clayton, NC.
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.
Bob Hooley is the Operations Manager at the Ply Gem Insight Center, a research and development manufacturing site in Durham, NC dedicated to building product innovation. Prior to joining Ply Gem in 2016, Bob held numerous leadership positions at mid to large-scale manufacturers in his home state of Indiana.
Bob is a graduate of Indiana University, where he received his BA in General Studies with a focus on Business Marketing and Management. He was also an active member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
Sports have remained a passion of Bob’s since playing in the Indiana State Football Championship and setting Track and Field records at his High School. Throughout the years he has coached both track and field and football teams and is currently a volunteer coach for the National Flag Football League in Raleigh, NC. Bob is also a member of the United States Auto Club (USAC) where he has acted as a car owner/driver handler for his oldest son who races competitively for USAC sanctioned auto racing.
Since his childhood Bob has participated in many mission trips throughout the United States and Haiti. Helping others has always been a calling for Bob and he aspires to continue his missionary work and help others throughout the Triangle.
Bob and his two sons Evan (8) and Lucas (5) live in Cary, NC where they are actively involved in Hope Community Church.
John Stephens has teamed up with Hope Connection to help raise awareness of the under-served needs in the community and build the next phase of their vision – a store that will provide annual funding in addition to donations. John has over 8 years of experience in political marketing and fundraising, 5 years in manufacturing, and 3 years in furniture sales. He and his wife, Tiffany own Southern Bang, a barbecue sauce company, and are looking forward to bringing their sauce to the Raleigh market.
John has a passion for serving others and a strong conviction that we are supposed to lead by example, help those who are in need, and pour our strength into those who will strengthen others.
He is a dedicated Husband and father of three.
Sr. Director, Development
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.
Justin Wahlers is an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he plans to major in public policy and sociology with a minor in political science.
Growing up in the Raleigh area, Justin attended GRACE Christian School where he developed a passion for reaching out to underprivileged people in the community. Serving as student body president, he coordinated community service trips to Eastern North Carolina to help victims recover from Hurricane Matthew.
Over two summers, Justin also served Hope Connection through part-time office administrative work. An avid politic, he spends much of his time researching how government policies affect society and sees a future in law and political advocacy for issues related to domestic violence and addiction.
Justin plans to start a student organization at UNC-Chapel Hill that focus on political activism. Justin will channel his visionary and service-driven mindset into creating partnerships with local churches, allowing Hope Connection to reach more people.
Business Consultants: Nick and Samantha Giuggio, Rex Vick, and Marco Fregenal
Web Administrator: John Stephens
Property Consultant: Cindy Leonard
Accountant: Wanda Shive
Former Board Members
Sandy Reynolds Jones
Charter Board Members
Stephanie Jones Caddell