Your Lives Matter Outreach Ministry

Your Lives Matter 

Reaching the Unreachable & Bringing Hope to the Hopeless


From Ethel:

"Our mission is to REACH The UN-REACHABLE & BRING HOPE To The HOPELESS. By sharing our expriences, strength & hope we will let them know they are never alone. My husband and I have both been transformed by the renewing of our minds. We also assist & help families who have lost love ones with memorial services & donate custom made memorial wreaths, repast, prayer, encouragement & support. We lost a grandson to gun violence on Dec 11,2016. I attend & support CRIME SURVIVORS FOR SAFEFY & JUSTICE."  


Ethel Pates and James Meeks, who are married now for thirty-three years, started their Outreach Ministries in 2017 in order to reach those in the community who most desperately needed help.  Through their own personal hardship, Ethel and James were driven to create avenues for hope, letting people know they are not alone.

The program of "Our Lives Matter" started with feeding the community and especially the homeless population on the South Side of Peoria.  Besides just giving food, Ethel and James spread hope, and support to others who are suffering.  They use their own background experiences and knowledge to help guide those who are suffering towards the resources they need.  This work has expanded into educational programming, networking with other local agencies, recovery groups, spiritual support groups, pick-up ministry and other resource connections.

Their goal is to see the transformation and change within others, as they were able to experience within themselves.


Our Team

Ethel Pates- Co-Founder and Director

Ethel grew up in the Garden Projects in Rockwell IL.  She describes her parents as strict disciplinarians who believed in church, work and education.  She said her and her siblings were always involved in all sorts of activities.  Her mother, Edna, was president of the building council, and election judge and a community advocate always sharing the love of God's words.

But Ethel's life journey took her into scenarios that did not fit with who she felt she really was:

"Something happened during my teen-years. I was introduced to cigerattes, alcohol and drugs.  These became my friends.  Although, I gave birth to 3 daughters & 3 sons, I continued to use drugs and my life started going down badly. I blamed others for my problems, and my children were placed in the DCFS system.  Luckily I found recovery!  It worked, and I became able to share the message in my work with the Human Service Center, New Leaf, Cila house ,Women at the Crossroad Intake & Outreach  Office , chairing 12-step meeting & networking. Yet, something was still missing and after 10 years of sobriety.  I went back out again, and although I stayed employed, I was starting to lose myself.

"In 2015 I got hit by a truck crossing the street. This was the start of my return to sobriety. I came home to Peoria. I was looking for what was missing out of my life, and even though I had family here I went to stay at the Dream Center Shelter. Here  I found out what missing , turning my will over to GOD. I had to SURRENDER.

"I will have 8 years of recovery and soberity on Dec 17. I have experieced hardship, tragedy, homelessness, brokenness, DCFS, drugs and alcohol.  Now, I Am Free At Last from my past mistakes. I've always had a passion for helping & assisting peoples, and I continue to network & fellowship,volunteer,with ministries, agencies, facilitate 12-step meetings, feed the community & homeless, & connect them to available resoures.

"I want to let people know they are never alone, no matter what challenge of life they maybe going through."

Signed, Ethel


James Meeks - Co-Founder and Director of Community Education

James Meeks was born in Peoria, Il in 1964 and grew up in the Taft Homes. He graduated from Woodruff High School in 1982 and began working at the Civic Center.  He attended Midstate Business College where he received diplomas in bookkeeping and parallegal studies. He also has his CNA certificate.  

James loves working with children, and held his first job as a teen at a daycare center. He has worked as a tutor for decades, as a teaching assistant, and most recently as a foster grandparent at Harrison School.  He says it always makes him emotional when he sees a child finally read something he previously had trouble reading.

He has also worked in the medical field for nearly 30 years as a CNA and currently is with Methodist Hospital.  He helps people start their journey back to health from back, knee and hip surgeries.

James says he loves this work, helping people work through their pain he says, "I convey to them gently and compassionately that pain is a part of the healing process. I have learned that scars do not go away, but they can be healed. "

He says his favorite causes are tutoring, feeding the hungry, service work in Alcoholics Anonymous.  "All three of those causes keep me grounded in reality. They let me know that with God all things are possible. These callings give me an opportunity to get to know people on a humanity level casting aside class and color because inside we are all the same because we all bleed and cry."






Ethel also runs a small business" Beauty of Gifts" This bussiness started in JUNE 01,2015 creating memorial and holiday wreaths and bath gift baskets for any occasion & seasonal, valentine ,mothers & fathers day,thanksgiving & most precious day of the year CHRISTMAS.  She finds pleasure in hand making these personalized gifts away of bring joy & happiness to others, support herself, and 'Your LIVES MATTER OUTREACH MINISTRY  ,REACHING the UNREACHABLE & Giving & Bring HOPE to the HOPELESS & FORGOTTEN ONE'S,


If you have a holiday, celebration, or passing of a loved one, Beauty of Gifts can create something meaningful for the event.  Plus, 10% of all proceeds are given to the 'YOUR LIVES MATTER OUTREACH MINISTRY'

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