S.T.E.P. program receives nonprofit status

Published 2:01 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

The Seeking to Empower People program has received its 501(c)3 nonprofit status.

Tony Hughes of S.T.E.P. shared the news with the Clanton City Council during its July 11 meeting.

Hughes said with this process being completed, the committees were “ready to go to work.”

Several community leaders serve on the program’s oversight committee and board of directors.

“I believe God brought a great group of people together to try to do something,” Hughes said. “… We are trying to help folks that have taken the wrong path — through their own choices, through circumstances beyond their control or whatever else.”

Mayor Jeff Mims spearheaded the idea of the program being developed. Now, he serves on the oversight committee and the board of directors.

Hughes said the program has already secured some funding and will be pursuing grants in the future.

A main focus for the group is helping connect those facing addictions with resources to lead to recovery and helping those who have been recently released from jail.

“If you talk to law enforcement, it is a revolving door a lot of times,” Hughes said. “If we can find folks that need help and realize that they need it and they want help, then we are going to try to walk alongside them to help them take steps in the right direction.”

Alternative sentencing options, such as sending someone with an addiction to a proven recovery program rather than jail, are also being discussed with district judges.

Committee members are working on establishing partnerships in the community to find people the program can serve.

The program will also seek to assist elderly or disabled individuals who need assistance maintaining their property as well as anyone dealing with something they are not sure how to cope with.

“(We) have heard an awful lot lately about mental health issues,” Hughes said. “That’s a good thing because I see someone with a cast on their leg and I wouldn’t expect that they could run very fast. But you can’t readily see and discern mental health issues, and a lot of times that is all that has to be done is to uncover that and connect that person with someone that can help.”

S.T.E.P. wants to help people connect to resources that are already available. Hughes said sometimes people just do not know where to go for help.