The Beginning of WAU
Corey Purdie Progression: Child, Justice Involved, Social Entreprenuer
At the age of 16 Corey Purdie was convicted as an adult and placed in the custody of to the NC Department of Corrections. With the help of prison ministry volunteers, Corey committed his life to Christ while in prison. After serving 8 years, Purdie was released. Following his release, Purdie developed a friendship with Jeff Smith, a local pastor who mentored him as a father figure. Smith instilled hope in Purdie through Biblical text like Jeremiah 29:11 and reminding Purdie that he still had a purpose beyond his past.
In 2007, faced with the discrimination from local employers due to a 12-year-old criminal record from a moment of his past, Purdie decided to start his own business. With a bucket, a borrowed water hose and some Joy dish detergent from his mother’s sink he opened Miracle Wash Auto Detailing. Without a penny in his pocket Purdie was determined not to return to his previous life. Relying on his will power he established a successful business and within the first year received recognition from the Craven Community College Small Business Center.
Corey Purdie with wife, Tiffany Purdie in front of first Miracle Wash Mobile Unit
However, Purdie quickly realized that there were issues far beyond just his personal situation, there were many returning home, faced with the same barriers. Purdie focused on providing opportunities for returning citizens with employment at Miracle Wash as well as duplicating his efforts by helping those that had a passion for entrepreneurship establish their individual branches of Miracle Wash expanding to Roseville and Charlotte North Carolina.
Cake with Congratulations Class of 2015 for Job for Life Graduates
Seeing that barriers surrounding reentry went beyond entry level employment, in 2010 Purdie established a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Wash Away Unemployment to address those underlying barriers such as housing, sustainability skills, lack of connecting resources, transportation, family reconciliation, etc. using the Jobs for Life Curriculum. Since establishing WAU, Corey continues to learn from those who preceded him in this work, fosters relationships throughout the state, and advocates for system-level change.