ONE ON ONE | Jeannette Hooks Diversity coordinator fits ministry with job
Do your jobs as a diversity coordinator and pastor relate?
They most certainly do. One complements the other. The ministry is my No. 1 ... being a servant to God and doing what God has called me to do. It has afforded me many different opportunities to work with people in that very same aspect, reaching out, while I'm not in the church. So it is an extension. This job [as diversity coordinator] is a result of the ministry. It's because of the ministry that I'm able to go in many different directions and make a difference in so many other people's lives.
Has that always been your focus?
Yeah. Being in the ministry of helps. I figured it out. I woke up one day and said "You know what? This is it. I finally got what my purpose is in life." And my purpose is just to be there to help as many people as possible.
When did you realize that?
God was doing it all the time. He was just working in my life, but it took me a while as a human being to really figure out what is my purpose in life.
What were you doing before that time?
I was working as a counselor. Working on different degrees and I was going for classes for the ministry. That's when everything started blending together. I couldn't understand, why do I want to do this. And unbeknownst to me, God was just starting to blend everything together. Maybe not for the job I was doing at that time, but he saw the larger picture. He knew that eventually I was going to need some of this and need some of that in order to accomplish the goal that he has called me to do.
Most people search their whole lives and never put it all together.
I didn't put it all together in the beginning. It was a period of time when I just didn't know. It wasn't revealed to me. Just bits and pieces of it. Then one day the revelation did come. He just spoke to me through my spirit and said "I want you to serve me in truth and worship and every aspect of my life." Along with that means you are going to be servant to the people and humanity to mankind. When it hit me, then everything else got easier for me.
How long have you been at Bethel AME?
What are some of the things you have done at Bethel AME?
When I got there, we started some youth programs. We have a junior usher board. We are starting to work this year on an after-school tutoring program. We've got a breakfast the second and fourth Sunday of every month. We are mounting a campaign to go out evangelizing and see what the needs are for the people. So we can be their beacon light in the community to help other ministries bring people in and help in whatever need there is.
You have a twin sister. Do you have any other siblings?
I have six others. Four sisters and three brothers. A big, close family.
What interests you about being on city council?
Farrell is a great community and naturally I'm going to be partial to it because I was born and raised there. I like the friendliness of Farrell. It was a steel city and when the mills went down, a lot of businesses are no longer there. I like things that are challenging and I like to accept positions that are challenging because I know that's where some of the greatest victories come from. I said I would run because I want to see some things in our community for young people. Some type of recreation places for them to go. I want to see more businesses come back to Farrell.
Do you take vacations?
Yes, last year my children and I went to South Miami Beach.
Where else would you like to go?
I want to go next year to Africa and to Paris, France.
Do you have any heroes?
My mother, Laura Smith Wright. My mother was so full of wisdom and she had unwavering faith and such great courage. My mother, when she passed away, her funeral was so crowded it was standing room only. It was a testimony to what type of individual she was.
Do you do anything for fun?
I love to read. ... Danielle Steel is a favorite. I read about five Danielle Steel books over the summer. Some of my down time I will get away for a Friday night and go to Pittsburgh and go to a play and dinner with a friend.