Operation Hope Prison Ministry (OHPM) mission statement: To provide services to the men, women and children impacted by incarceration. We offer support to this population to lower recidivism rates and the incidence of first-time offenders among their children, ultimately reducing the crime and violence that threaten neighborhoods and families.
Throughout OHPM’s existence, its focus has remained dedicated to:
- Assisting ex-offenders secure their immediate needs for housing, employment, training and education classes during their first year post-release.
- Providing programs that help incarcerated parents and grandparents stay connected with their children while in prison.
- Partnering with state and local agencies to minister to incarcerated veterans and ex-offenders.
1994-1995: OHPM begins as a Sunday School project at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Volunteers provide transportation from prison, housing, food and clothing for newly released individuals.
1996-2007: The Rev. Mary Lou Martin becomes OHPM’s first Executive Director, taking the organization beyond Asbury and connecting it inter-denominationally. Office space is rented in downtown Tulsa to provide easy access for clients.
1996: OHPM incorporates as a non-profit designed to provide practical aid and resources to incarcerated and post-incarcerated individuals. A Board of Directors is established.
1997: OHPM becomes a 501 (c)(3).
1997-2007: Weekly Bible classes are taught inside Eddie Warrior Women’s Correctional Center in Taft, OK. Volunteers mentor and help prepare inmates for a successful and permanent transition from prison to freedom.
2005: OHPM Children’s Services connects children to their mothers and grandmothers at Eddie Warrior during organized “Play Days.”
2007: OHPM moves its office inside St Luke’s United Methodist Redemption Church at 1839 N. Boston Ave. on the north side of downtown Tulsa.
2007-2014: Mary Leslie serves as Executive Director and develops “Standards of Excellence” for OHPM’s Policies and Procedures.
2010: Incarcerated Veterans Programs provide leadership and assistance for prisons’ Veterans Clubs and re-entry services.
2011: “Bedtime Stories” provides incarcerated fathers and grandfathers an opportunity to read and record a story, which is sent (along with the book) to their child or grandchild at home. “Bedtime Stories” is now offered in five prisons.
2015-2016: Heather Sisson-White serves as the Executive Director.
2015: Scholarship Committee is established to provide adults recently discharged from prison with financial assistance for training, classes and supplies in order to secure employment. Needed services for children of incarcerated parents are also offered.
2016: Matt Theis serves as interim Executive Director for approximately three months.
2016-Present: Cheri Buschmann is hired as Executive Director and continues to lead the organization.
2017: “Paws for Patriots” program begins at Jackie Brannon Correctional Center in McAlester, OK. Inmates train selected rescue dogs to be certified service dogs placed with disabled veterans.
2018: Internship opportunities are made available to selected men and women discharged from prison. Interns learn job skills and receive counseling, mentoring and on-the-job training.
2019: Offices move to current location: 739 North Denver Ave., inside Emmanuel Baptist Church.
2020: Collaboration begins with Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and Oklahoma Veterans Alliance to develop re-integration programs for incarcerated veterans.