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Check Out Joyce Franklin-Smith’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joyce Franklin-Smith.

Alright Joyce, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?                                                                                        In 2012, I lost my youngest brother. He passed away from a massive heart attack, and he was young. At the time, he did not have any life insurance or any funds to take care of his funeral arrangements. This is what led me to start the Helping Hand Asset Relief Program (HHARP), a non-profit organization created to assist individuals with bereavement assistance, who otherwise do not have resources or anyone to help them with planning their loved one’s funeral or burial arrangements.

We have been active in the Shelby County community since 2014. However, in 2020, we had to close our office due to Covid. But, we have been able to provide some level of services to our clients working remotely. It’s actually been cost-effective working via Zoom and utilizing other means to assist our clients.

My strong faith in God has compelled me to overcome many challenges I have faced. I wrote a book “Discovering Purpose in a Crisis”, which can be found on Amazon. This book gives accounts of my personal story from dealing with difficult situations, grief, and loss, But, through all of my adversities, it has made me stronger and wiser. I have been a resident of the Raleigh community most of my life.

I have seen the neighborhood grow and develop into a nice and safe place to live. I’m proud of the progress that has been made. I tell anyone facing life challenges. To stay strong and do not give in or give up! Never allow other people’s personal opinions to limit you from living out your purpose. At the end of the day, “The Sun Will Shine Again” no matter what situation you find yourself in. We must keep our faith!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No, I have had more than my fair share of struggles along my journey. The world is filled with people who use their power and influence to hinder others from excelling. I endured some painful work-life situations that never should have happened to me. But I was able to push through the experience with a new attitude towards life. I didn’t allow the negative experience to change who I was or what I was destined to do.

When you set your mind on thinking outside the box or doing things differently, people tend to damper your efforts, but the God I serve has made a way out of no way! The organization I founded is self-funded and has some public and private support. Of course, this can create financial strains on any budget, but I have such a strong desire to succeed and complete the vision that God has planted in my heart.

I do not want to focus on the negatives, but take the time I have left and do positive things in the community in which I live. It is my Christian duty to help people. We all can do more to give support. Our organization may not have a big budget, but the team we have, we have big hearts! I love people and I have a heart for people.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m the Executive Director of the Helping Hand Asset Relief Program (HHARP). I also work in an HR role with Shelby County Government. I specialize in selling life insurance because there is such a need in our community. To educate people about the importance of having life insurance or some type of life plan in action when faced with a crisis. I hold a life insurance and nail tech license. I recently started back working in the real estate sector.  I’m proud of being able to multi-task and learn new skills along this journey and at the same time, stay humble.

I’m most proud of being a grandmother to my 4-year-old granddaughter. She brings me joy, love, and purpose.

What sets me apart from others will be my strong will to be independent and my faith in God. I never allow anyone to stop me from living my dreams of a better way of living and growing. In all my setbacks. God made a way for me to come back stronger and wiser!

I enjoy playing golf with my golf buddy, Susan, who keeps me on my game as we play without guilt or getting too serious about the game. I love her tenacity!

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I want people to know whatever desire or passion God has purposed you for in life. Get up and do it! Our organization may not have the BIG budgets, staff, facilities, or organizational support like most government or other agencies doing social work, but we do have a team of people who have a big heart in giving their time to help when needed.

Never allow anyone to stop you from pursuing your dreams or aspirations in life. Keep dreaming big and keep your Faith. When faced with adversity, stand strong and keep moving! Take time to enjoy life!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Helping Hand Asset Relief Program (HHARP) and Joyce Franklin-Smith, Founder/Executive Director

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