The HOPE Program

Our ATLAS Family Services Ministry team continues to grow in the services provided to families and in having outstanding staff members to carry out the goals of the organization. Together our staff, volunteers and directors are the heart and soul of our organization.  We are blessed to have each of them.

The Newlywed Game

The moral of the Newlywed Game was to show the students how important it is to build a relationship on solid foundation. In which you must have Time, Effort, and Trust. And the longer you stay in a relationship, the more you get to know about a person.

HOPE Info.

What is HOPE all about?

HOPE is a community-based youth development abstinence program based on moral principles and the word of God. The HOPE Program teaches moral values and life principles based on God’s word to the youth of our community.  It is an abstinence program designed to equip middle and high school students to make wise and healthy choices in their lives -- primarily in the areas of sex, drugs, and alcohol.  Implemented through the local school system, the HOPE program is a health education strategy designed to promote positive development that will transform students into more constructive and responsible young people.

The Mission of HOPE

  • Equip students to make informed life choices and to understand the benefits and/or consequences of their choices.
  • Empower students to recognize the relationship connection between their body, soul, mind, and heart.
  • Arm students with skills and knowledge that will give them a greater capacity to develop both healthy relationships in the short term and healthy marriages and families in the long term.

Hope Challenge

  • Many of the children of today are suffering from a lack of parental guidance and supervision.
  • Young people are becoming parents at an early age and do not possess sufficient parenting skills.  Teen pregnancy is on the rise and leads to an escalating and continuous cycle of poverty.
  • Marriages, and two parent households, have become the exception rather than the rule.  Children are impacted negatively by the world’s music, literature, television, and movies.  All of these “information sources” present a false lifestyle that is seductive,  but leads to physical, emotional and spiritual destruction.  The countless false lifestyles and images being portrayed fail to show the detrimental consequences of engaging in the array of behaviors that are glamorized and promoted.
  • The consequences are many, and far reaching, including an epidemic of teen pregnancy and the occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases at a previously unheard of pace.  Prior to 1960, there were two prevalent sexually transmitted diseases, syphilis and gonorrhea; in 2010, there are 35 sexually transmitted diseases. STD’s, many incurable, lead to ruined lives.


The Statistics

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
  • Two thirds of all new sexually transmitted diseases ( STD’s) cases reported are among young people ages 15-24, many of whom have shown no symptoms of the disease.
  • 3 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases occur among teens each year.
  • The Department of Human Resources reported that in 2006 -- 21,685 STD’s cases were diagnosed in the 10-19 age group in Georgia.


HOPE’s curriculum was written by Mrs. Phillippia Cook Faust, RN, CAE, CCE, Adolescent Health Education, with The MATURE Project of Rockdale Medical Center, Conyers, Georgia. Mrs. Faust has a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the tri-county area of Dekalb, Newton and Rockdale with abstinence until marriage education for the past ten years.

Three teachers, trained in the HOPE curriculum, teach units at Carson Middle School and Greene County High School. The middle school curriculum focuses heavily on goal setting and developing a positive and healthy self image. Relationships, differences between males and females, and sexually transmitted diseases are key components of the high school curriculum.

For the 2009-2010 school year, 209 students were enrolled in HOPE classes at Carson Middle School for the first nine weeks and 176 for the second nine weeks. One hundred eighty one students were enrolled in HOPE classes at the high school during the first semester and 239 for the second semester.

Hope Outcome & Student Testimonials

We have just completed our second year of teaching in Greene County Schools.  For grades sixth, seventh, and eighth, we teach one lesson per week for nine weeks. In the high school, we teach a fifteen lesson course during each semester.  A pre-survey (test) is administered the first day of class and then the identical questions (post-survey) are administered at the end of the course material.  The questions focus on attitudes as well as refusal skills related to sexual activity and other risky behaviors, including alcohol and drug involvement.  We have seen a remarkable increase in the number of “desirable” responses at the end of the school terms, and, for those who have now been through two years of courses, the results are even more encouraging and impressive.  The HOPE curriculum teaches “truth” and “consequences” of risky behavior.  Clearly, the students are getting information they have not heard before, and they are retaining it.  HOPE is a young program without a long history of “statistics”, but we are confident that we will see a substantial percentage of the students have positive life style changes.  Armed with the facts, we believe our youth can begin to make positive choices which will be beneficial to their lives and to the stability of their community.

What the Students are Saying:

"It means a lot to me because it shows us the teachers care and shows they don’t just give up on students.”
“It made me think about the consequences of having sex before marriage.”
“It has made me think more about premarital sex and waiting longer to have sex.”
“Now I know how important it is to wait to have sex.”
“It has helped me drastically change my way of thinking about life. I have made better choices.”
”As I’ve gotten deeper into the class, I’ve realized that sex can really mess up our lives.”
“I thank HOPE for opening my eyes and helping me see the big picture.”
“I’ve learned what it takes to have a strong relationship so it can last.”
“I have taken a lot from HOPE classes. It has changed my thinking from sex being good and needed to sex not being needed and not normal until marriage.”
“I am learning what risky behaviors are doing to me and others.”
“The class means a lot to me to know that someone cares.”

Barbara Johnson

Hope Director

Barbara is married with one adult son. She has resided in the county for over thirty years.  She is a retired educator with thirty-five years of service in the Greene County School System. She serves in the community as an active member of the Springfield Baptist Church in Greensboro. Other community involvement includes active membership of Iota Psi Omega Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Board member of Greene County Habitat for Humanity, Board Chair of Greensboro Housing Authority and member of Greene County Chapter of NAACP. Barbara has worked diligently to support the American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraising efforts over the past years. She works passionately for any cause she is involved in. She believes her position as HOPE Director is not by happenstance, but was preordained for such a time as this. She comes to HOPE with a heart for the children of Greene County, realizing their potential to achieve greatness. She knows given the opportunity, support, and proper information, Greene County’s children will achieve a greater level of success and far exceed expectation. Barbara perceives her position at HOPE as a continuation and extension of the important work she has done over the past years.

Chandra Wright

Hope Educator

As an instructor for the HOPE program since 2008, Chandra demonstrates a deep passion and belief in the HOPE lessons.  Anyone talking with her understands that she cares deeply for the well being of her students.

Chandra graduated from Greene County High School, and then from Artistic Beauty College in Conyers.  She became a licensed, ordained minister in 2006.  Also, she is the owner of Beauty with Class Beauty Salon.

She and her husband Danny Wright have been married for 16 years and they have three children: Whitley, Nya' and Danahj.

Nesial Miller

Family Service Leader/Advocate

Mrs. Nesial has an extensive background of helping others through education, prison rehabilitation, church ministry, and now ATLAS Ministries, Inc.  A native of Sparta (Hancock County) Georgia, Nesial moved to Greene County Georgia with her husband James and daughter Brittney.

During her career, Nesial has worked as: a media specialist in a law library, staff liaison for a battered women's group, founded a book club at a state prison, taught unemployment skills to soon-to-be-released inmates, created Restoration Ministries to encourage and inspire women, and has played an inspirational role in the lives of ATLAS's families since 2008.

The opportunity to serve her community has always been her dream and her position as Family Services Leader gives her the opportunity to do just that.  Because Nesial was surrounded by Godly women who encouraged her through many difficult times by sharing love and the Word of God with her, she feels called to give the same to others.

Betty Osment

Hope Administrative Assistant

Betty Laster Osment lives in Newton County. She received the Rockdale County Woman of the Year award in 2001 for doing great service throughout her community. She received an award from the Rockdale Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse for her seven years of service as the First Steps Coordinator. She served as the Administrative Coordinator of the Rockdale Medical Center’s Abstinence Education Grant from 2003 to 2006. She currently serves on the leadership team to administrate the Healthy Marriage Initiative Grant among high school age youth. Since 2007, she has worked closely in the process of initiating abstinence education in Greene County from the inception. She has served in many different roles with the HOPE Program since it began. She presently serves as the Peer Education Leader and Administrative Assistant for the HOPE Program. She has a heart for youth but particularly the youth in Greene County.

Rebecca Epps

Volunteer Leader & Development Coordinator

Mrs. Rebecca moved to Greene County in 1996. She and her husband Justin have been married since 1997 and have three children, Richard, Lanie, and Tristan-Sarah. Before starting at ATLAS, Rebecca worked as an accounting manager for a construction company for 10 years. She is a member and Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro where she is also the children’s Sunday school teacher and youth leader. Rebecca is very excited about the new path that God has put before her at ATLAS where she will be working as the Volunteer Leader and Development Coordinator where she will be assisting the Family Service Team in the recruitment of Volunteers and assisting in Development and Fund Raising.

Nick Rucker

Family Service Leader Male Advocate

If you would like to meet someone passionate about his work and purpose, then visit with Nick Rucker who serves as Family Services Advocate for the men and young men at ATLAS.

One of Nick's responsibilities is coordinating "The GAP", a learning program and activities for the sons of ATLAS clients.  On the first and third Friday afternoon of each month, guys between the ages of 11 and 16 have a time to learn and share.

Nick encourages the young fellows to share their thoughts and feelings with him.  He views his time with them as an opportunity to build character in their young lives and encourages them to a genuine and authentic relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Also, he teaches them that God's grace is for everybody and anybody.

"Together we go where the Lord leads in our Friday afternoon sessions", says Nick.

Not only does Nick care about the young men in "The Gap", but he also loves his work at ATLAS.  He serves as a counselor, mentor, and certified educator of the HOPE (healthy options for personal empowerment) program for the teenagers in the Greene County school system.

Nick's eyes reflect his commitment to serving, his heart overflows with sharing God's Word and God's love with all, especially those who are hurting.  "A person doesn't care how much you know until they know that you care", he continued.


The mission of Greene County High School is to provide all students with a quality education that supports success in an ever-changing world.

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