(WVNS) – Deep in the woods in Summers County it may seem just like any other gravel road. But to some, it
Deep in the woods in Summers County it may seem just like any other gravel road. But to some, it’s a road to opportunities.
“Well what better name than Opportunity Lane,” Pastor Larry Cochran said. “Because this is a place of opportunity. That’s our motto.”
Larry Cochran is the Pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church and the founder of Joseph Academy in Jumping Branch, W.Va.
“Joseph was a young man who had opportunity, privilege, but he had a pit in his life,” Cochran said. “His brothers sold him into slavery but that night they put him in the pit. He had to make the choice to be bitter or better.”
It’s at Joseph Academy where troubled young men ages 12 and up can have access to opportunities they never had. In a year-long program they’re catching up on schoolwork and learning trades such as welding, carpentry and farming.
“There’s a certain amount of maturity that takes place in a young man’s life when he does something with his hands and he steps back at the end of the day and says look what I’ve done,” Cochran said. “I think it helps them.”
The idea of helping all started in 2010 when Pastor Cochran said God told him he needed to start a school, but with no money, it seemed nearly impossible.
Hours later, a phone call changed everything.
“She said, ‘preacher I was praying for you today and the Lord told me to give you $100,000,'” Cochran said. “She said I don’t know what for and I said I do.”
Today they’ve raised more than $600,000 thanks to donations from people and churches across the country, allowing their students to attend for free.
Bill Robinette is the Director at Joseph Academy. He lives on site and helps with everything from school work to counseling.
“We’re trying to build their esteem but through that we want to be positive,” Robinette said.
He said they’re doing that through a reward system. From the basics to building log cabins, their ultimate goal is helping young men reach their full potential.
“One of the reasons why this ministry is dear to my heart is because I am a product of something like this.” Robinette said.
Now he’s leading three young men at Joseph Academy, including Andrew and Kenny.
“Since I’ve been here I’ve started saying, ‘yes sir, no sir.’ I learned how to go along with it and do what you’re told,” Andrew said.
“I thank our Pastor for everything he does for us,” Kenny said. “It’s just been a great experience having the church around you and supporting you through everything.”
Both boys have plans for their future; Andrew hopes to become a Chaplin in the military and Kenny wants to be a welder.
Pastor Cochran said their main mission at Joseph Academy is to help young, troubled men turn into contributing members of society.
“We want to see those boys to turn out to be young men that are contributing to society, good citizens, patriotic, that they have a walk with God,” Cochran said. “That’s a very important part here.”
If you have a young man, who you believe would be a good candidate for this program or would like to donate to their cause, you can call Pastor Larry Cochran at (304) 573-0148 at Joseph Academy.