NOV. 2021 FEATURE ARTICLE
Keira Wyatt & C.O.N.N.E.C.T. Ministries Gives 2nd Chances
KNOXVILLE, TN- Imagine what it feels like to be released from prison after years of incarceration. No where to go, no funds, no where to lay your head. You have done your time, paid your dues, but no one will give you a second chance to become a hard working citizen. For many, the rejection is too much and they end back up in the prison system, the only world they know, unless they come to C.O.N.N.E.C.T. Ministries where Executive Director and Founder Keira Wyatt gives them that life line.
Her organization starts working with them while they are in prison thru the Prince Gillenwater Round Table Program where they write to them, encourage them, share the gospel with them and help prepare them for entrance back into a world that many have been away from for decades.
One of the greatest needs to be met is a job so that they can afford housing, food and other life necessities. Through their partnership with INNOVATE Manufacturing, C.O.N.N.E.C.T. hires them and pays a living wage and helps with life skills development, recreation of needed documents, voter restoration process, bus passes, utility assistance, help with social security paperwork, even expungement of records needs.
The opportunity to start anew extends to youth, the homeless, families, and women in dire situations also. For over 15 years, Wyatt has worked to feed and clothe the homeless, worked with area women's halfway houses to get them back on their feet, and for the last two years has worked with the Faith Leaders Initiative to ensure all who want to it, can get vaccinated against Covid-19.. She also has a workforce development program to help young people on their paths.
From small beginnings in a little two story house, to a one story building that is already too small, Wyatt and her staff try to help everyone who comes through the door, even if its only to offer a prayer and a drink of water.
She keeps cases of bibles and bottles at the ready.