Many people are lost when they get out of jail. Without resources or help from anyone, it can be difficult for people to change and keep a better life without falling into old habits.

A Hand UP Ministry strives to give people a hand after prison to change the course of their life.

Rex and Tammi Mayo began A Hand UP Ministry in 2017 after realizing there were not many resources for people who have dedicated their life to Jesus Christ in prison. Their mission became serving these individuals and helping them to stay faithful, hopeful and integrate back into society well.

What started with helping one friend in 2017 has grown to helping at least 25 men and women over the last three years.

At A Hand UP Ministry they want to assure as many people as possible are helped to the best of their ability, thus potential applicants are met with to insure they want to be helped and are willing to be helped.

“Everyone wants to get out of prison, but not everyone wants to change,” Rex stated.

The program lasts between 12 and 18 months. During this time individuals are placed into one of the three houses A Hand UP Ministry has, two residents for men and one for women. The organization provides basic food and beverages for participants; however, they are able to purchase their own snack foods if they choose to.

The Ministry also connects these individuals with businesses in the community to help get them employment, so they can work towards getting back on their feet.

Rex stated that many of the people in the program work about five days a week.

In addition to providing housing and finding employment, A Hand Up also has individuals complete a 12 step training throughout their time.

Rex stated they typically complete Dave Ramsey’s financial class once a year, work towards a GED if they did not graduate high school, learn to change oil and tires and learn how to take care of their bodies better.

Most people in the program also have mentors to help guide them on their journey with Jesus and coming back to society. Each person is also required to attend Celebrate Recovery meetings each week.

Rex and Tammi have partnered with six local churches to form A Hand UP Ministry board. They also have many volunteers, mentors, financially supportive church /people and Celebrate Recovery who help with many aspects of their mission.

The Mayo family is always looking for people to help with their ministry. To them, the most important service opportunity is having good mentors to spend time with people in the program to show what a normal, healthy lifestyle looks like, and to have someone to carry their burdens when they may not be able to.

Rex and Tammi have been married for 15 years as of this March and have 13 children between the two of them, six of which still live at home. Both of them retired a few years ago; however, they say retired life is busier than it was when they had jobs.

“This is not what I imagined retirement looking like,” Rex said, “... [We] get to watch people’s lives change forever, how could it get better than that?”

Rex and Tammi are always accepting of new volunteers, mentors and donors. For more information about A Hand UP Ministry or how to get involved, please visit https://ahandupministry.com or their Facebook page.