New center to help parolees seek higher purpose | Director: It's not a halfway house, but an all-the-way house for Jesus

Restoration of Hope director Danny Stone and his mother, Sheila "Judy" Stone, stand inside the center at 1217 Hazel St. The center, which could open later this summer, will be a Christian ministry for men who've recently been paroled from prison and are looking for a higher calling.
Restoration of Hope director Danny Stone and his mother, Sheila "Judy" Stone, stand inside the center at 1217 Hazel St. The center, which could open later this summer, will be a Christian ministry for men who've recently been paroled from prison and are looking for a higher calling.

TEXARKANA, Texas - Helping those men recently released from prison and mentoring them to become devoted to God is the mission of the Restoration of Hope Center, soon to open on Hazel Street

The center, at 1217 Hazel St., served for about 30 years as the Hazel Street Recovery Center for addicted and troubled youth before it closed in 2017. Now it's being renovated for men who have been, or will soon be, paroled from prison - men who are now looking for a higher purpose in life.

"We like to say that we aren't a halfway house," said the center's director, Danny Stone. "We are an all-the-way house for Jesus Christ."

Stone said he, along with his mom, Sheila "Judy" Stone, both drew inspiration to establish this home from his dad, Ross Stone, who passed away in February 2019.

"Dad always pondered the idea of having a place for men coming out of prison- men who didn't have anywhere else to go," Stone said.

A few months afters his dad's passing, Stone went to a men's ministry in Texarkana called Haven Home in September 2019. There, he said, he was seeking to follow the path he had chosen to walk with Christ through a ministry that would help him grow spiritually and give him a chance to further his understanding of this type of ministry.

Upon setting up the Stone Foundation as a nonprofit in tribute to Ross Stone, he and his mom started searching for property where their vision for the Restoration of Hope Center could take root. With plenty of prayer, they found the former youth center building on the market and purchased it earlier this year.

"It is a process we are having to face at this point," Stone said, referring to the building's needed renovations su He predicted the center will be able to accommodate at least 27 parolees and they are looking at Aug. 1 as a possible opening date.

Already, Stone said, he as received at least a dozen written letters from men, either paroled or about to be patrolled, who are looking for a a life of purpose.

One of those letters to Stone states, "Danny, I don't mean to be blunt, but I need a new way of life. I'm tired of getting out and coming back to prison. I don't want to die in here. I just lost my mom to toxic levels of meth in November. It's been a bitter life, but I've always struggled. I've never had guidance or help in the right direction. I know in my heart, that I need a new start somewhere fresh - around good people that can guide and teach me. I've never functioned in society and I truly need your help. Allow me to parole to your program and I promise, I won't let you down - Please!!. I'll do whatever it takes."

"The most important thing these men will receive is the empowerment of Jesus Christ," Stone said. "Restoration of Hope helps these men first to develop a prayer life, as well as a Word study that helps them grow closer to Christ. Our goal is to help these men develop a daily structure that puts Christ at the center. And once they develop a solid relationship with Christ, we can help them with employment, basic financial planning and whatever other needs that each of them may have."

Stone added that some of those employment areas could include learning how to become painters, carpenters, welders and lawn-care workers.

He said the center needs donations of food, clothing and money. For more information, call the center at 903-272-1222 or go to https://restorationofhope.com/ or eamil [email protected].

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