Our Staff

Jerry Blassingame 

Executive Director of Soteria CDC

Jerry Blassingame is the Founder and CEO of Soteria Community Development Corporation. He endeavors to empower individuals and the community through education, affordable housing, financial literacy, community and economic development, and entrepreneurship. His passion is assisting individuals who have been incarcerated through reentry and helping them to become productive citizens.

Jerry attended Columbia International University and studied architectural engineering at Greenville Technical College.  Jerry received a 20 year prison sentence in 1995 and only served 3 1/2 years after being paroled in 1999.  He is also a Social Entrepreneur who believes in social enterprise for the non-profit sector.  Jerry has continued to fight for change in legislation since he was granted a pardon in 2004.  After 14 years of advocacy, South Carolina passed its first legislation to expunge felony drug charges in December of 2018.

In 2018, Jerry published his first book, Reclaimed, a memoir that details his story from tragedy to triumph.

Jerry lives in Greenville South Carolina with his wife, Stephanie of 20 years and 3 of their 6 kids.  He is an active part of the community and an advocate for economic and social justice.

Soteria CDC has continued to receive recognition for its community service:

  • In 2004, received outstanding Prison Aftercare Award from Transition of Prisoners Inc.
  • In September 2008, at the Housing and Community Economic Development Conference, Soteria CDC received the South Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations Award for outstanding leadership and service to low-income neighborhoods and communities in Greenville County.
  • In January 2009, at the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, received the Max Heller Neighborhood Improvement Award for exemplary efforts towards neighborhood improvement and empowerment.
  • 2009-2010 Graduate of the Leadership Greenville class 36
  • 2010-2012 Jerry served on the PTA board for AJ Whittenberg Elementary as President Elect and 2012-2013 as President. Also served as President Elect for Southwest Council PTA of Greenville County as.
  • In 2013, received an award from Institute of Prison Ministry for prison aftercare.
  • In 2014, received a Chuck Colson scholarship to attend Wheaton College correctional ministries program
  • 2014-2015 PTSA President of PJ Fisher Middle School
  • 2015, certified at Wheaton College in correctional ministries as a re-entry specialist.
  • In 2015, became the Vice President of Correctional Ministries and Chaplain Association International based out of Wheaton College through the Institute for Prison Ministries
  • 2016 Fellow of Just Leadership USA
  • 2016 Chair of the Greenville Reentry Coalition
  • 2018 Aspen Institute Healthy Communities Fellow
  • 2019 Greenville Chamber of Commerce Buck Mickel Award for Community Development
  • 2016-2019 Vice President Correctional Ministries & Chaplains Association
  • 2019-2021 President Correctional Ministries & Chaplains Association

Denise Patterson

Denise Patterson-Jones

Director of Operations

Denise Patterson-Jones is the Director of Operations and Property Manager of Soteria Community Development Corporation.

Denise, a graduate of Eastside High School, continued her education at Greenville Technical College from 2008-2013 where she received her Associate Degrees in Business Management, Marketing, Supply Chain Management and Accounting. In November 2007, she began volunteering at Soteria CDC as an appointment setter for the Ministry of Resources Benevolence Ministry. In May 2011, she started an Internship for Soteria’s Green Start Recycling before coming onboard as staff in July 2011 as Soteria Program Manager.  As the need expanded, so did Denise’s role into Administrative Assistant and Property Manager. In seeing a need of managing the housing of Soteria CDC, she went back to Greenville Tech in August 2012 and received certification in Property Management. Shortly thereafter in January 2014, she became a Notary Public for The State of South Carolina. In her spare time she loves to be “YaYa” to her six grandchildren.

Denise lives in Greenville with her husband, Melvin, and they have a blended family of eight children and six grandchildren.

Bob Norwood

Director of Programs for Men

Bob Norwood came to Soteria as an intern in 2019 and quickly established himself as an invaluable part of the Soteria family.  His first role was to help Denise cover the front desk, to field phone calls, and to be the face of the front office.

After graduating our 12 month program, Bob naturally rolled into the role of Director of Programs and joined our full time staff.  He now oversees our intern activity, from the needs of Soteria House to the interns’ education, job training, transportation, and support services.

April Barksdale

April Barksdale

Director of Programs for Women

April is an alumni of The Institute for Prison Ministries at Wheaton College. She is also the founder of ‘Beyond the RazorWire’ an online peer support community for formerly incarcerated women in S.C. after her own release from prison in 2011.

In 2015 she published her first book, ‘31 days and a Wake Up: My Journey Back to Freedom’ that chronicles the myriad of emotions she experienced during the final month of her incarceration.

April has been a local entrepreneur since 2014 and enjoys crafting and cooking in her spare time. Her and her husband Bernard reside in Simpsonville, S.C. and share a blended family of 5 children and 3 grandchildren.

Her quote to live by is, “It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world, at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”
– Albert Einstein

Christopher Pritchard

Case Manager

Christopher is an ordained Minister of Christ who serves current and formerly incarcerated people in several capacities:

Beginning in high school and during his freshman year at North Carolina State University, Christopher made a series of bad decisions that resulted in a life sentence. He was released in 2007 after 17-1/2 years of incarceration and made a decision to follow Christ six months later. He married Jennifer in late 2008, inheriting two wonderful daughters in the process. After his 5-year parole ended, Christopher successfully completed coursework at Wheaton College, where he received a Certification in Reentry Ministry as a Charles W. Colson Scholarship recipient. In January 2017, he received his ordination as a Minister of Christ. Christopher and Jennifer live near Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Catherine Blount

Director of Marketing

A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Catherine brings almost 20 years of design and marketing experience to Soteria.  She gets the word out about all the good things going on both at Soteria, CDC and Soteria At Work.

Soteria At Work Intern

Jonathan Thompson

Soteria At Work Artisan

Soteria At Work is the on-site job skill training program at Soteria.  We teach the men how to deconstruct houses and then use the wood to build furniture and artifacts. Jonathan joined the Soteria At Work team when he first enrolled in our Reentry Program and became a full time employee after graduating. He now teaches the trade to new interns.

Cody Satterfield

Soteria At Work Artisan

Cody is currently enrolled as an intern at Soteria CDC and joined the Soteria At Work team after completing his first 30 days in our program.  Cody works hard with a great attitude, is eager to learn, and we are thrilled to have him.

Kenneth Johnson

Soteria At Work Artisan

Kenneth is currently enrolled as an intern at Soteria CDC and joined the Soteria At Work team after completing his first 30 days in our program.  Kenneth’s calm presence and quiet confidence bless us all day every day.

Soteria At Work

Soteria At Work is the on-site job skill training program at Soteria.  We teach the men how to deconstruct houses and then use the wood to build furniture and artifacts.  Our tagline, “Reclaiming Wood, Reclaiming Lives” rings true every day as the men build tangible skills for future job opportunities in addition to the intangibles like work ethic, time management, and leadership skills.

Artisan

George | Artisan

Soteria At Work Intern

Jonathan | Artisan

Student Interns

Soteria CDC is proud to offer internships to students interested in gaining experience in community development and social justice.

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Mary Grace Walker

Eastside High School

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Kat Bassey

Furman University

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Chloe Goodie

Furman University

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Mary Spangler

Furman University

Our Board of Directors

Interested in future opportunities with our Board?

Please complete the following application.

Jerry Blassingame,
Executive Director 

Soteria CDC, Founder

Brooke Culclasure, Chair

Furman University, Research Director

Kelechi Benet

South Carolina State University

Steven Bonner

RSB Accounting & Tax Service

Terry Clark

Anchor Radiology (Retired)

Jan Collins

BMW Manufacturing

Jonathan Cote

Milliken, Corporate Counsel Attorney

Anita LeBold

Franklin American Mortgage Company

Brian Ellis

God’s True Disciples, Founder

Heather Esch

Village Church, Director of Operations

Ginny Stroud

Senior Community Investment Act Specialist
United Bank
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