Local ministry receives $100K gift from Poarch

Published 2:00 am Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brewton faith-based recovery center New Beginnings Ministries received a $100,000 grant Thursday, one of the two biggest grants awarded to service organizations by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians last week.
“It’s really a privilege for us to be involved in this presentation,” said PCI Chairman Buford Rolin. “It’s one way of giving back to the community.”
The tribe presented five checks in all, including: $100,000 to United Cerebral Palsy’s Camp SMILE, $100,000 for New Beginnings Ministries, Inc., $50,000 to Lighthouse Counseling Center, $40,000 to the Westside Athletic Association and $12,199 to the Dozier Improvement Committee.
“This contribution will be greatly appreciated,” New Beginnings Ministries founder and president Bo Bell said. “We can’t thank the tribe enough.”
Bell said the money will make it possible to provide more services to more people throughout the area.
“We’re working on getting a certified counselor for our ministry,” Bell said. “We will be contracting through (Southwest Alabama) Mental Health to provide counseling for substance abuse.”
The money will also help the ministry build a new men’s dorm.
“The dorm would provide space for 25 more men,” Bell said. “We are also hoping to build a counselors office and storage facility for the ladies’ dorm and build a greenhouse for the ladies as well.”
PCI treasurer and government affairs adviser Robert McGhee said that the donations, made to various organizations about twice a year, is a great way for the tribe to combat negative press stemming recently from political attacks from state Sen. Bryan Taylor.
Taylor has been an outspoken opponent of gambling, including at Indian casinos. As an attorney, he also previously represented the Escambia County Commission as it explored ways to get tax revenue from the tribe.
“We like sharing and giving back to the community,” McGhee said. “It’s time to let people know what we’re doing. We like to make this public.”
Lighthouse Counseling Center Coordinator Cheryl Hardley said the gift would be used for the organizations Stand Together Against Rape, or STAR program.
The Westside Athletic Association will use $40,000 from PCI to light the only field in Mobile designed for children with special needs, said WAA coach and tribal member Donovan Brooks.
The Dozier Improvement Committee plans to use its money to build a storm shelter and multipurpose facility, said resident Jan Cook.