About us.


Our people. Our story.

Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our HOPE is in You alone.

Psalm 33:22

We are a small group of individuals, compelled by God’s command through the influence of Christ Jesus, to extend a helping hand to those defenseless, oppressed, poor, hungry, vulnerable, orphaned, and sick – those who’ve lost hope. This is who we are, His servants, His ambassadors, His voice, His hands, and His feet.

Our people.

Jill Kearney

Founder and Executive Director

Meet Jill Kearney!

Jill, the visionary behind Onehope Refuge, earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Originating her ministry journey at Bay Leaf Baptist Church as Children’s Ministry Director, she then relocated to Roswell, GA, homeschooling her two adopted children from Tula, Russia. Jill’s diverse experiences include roles in Human Resources at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, GA, and as Program Director for Prison Alliance in Raleigh, NC. Alongside her husband, she dedicated four years to fostering, and their commitment to missions has impacted vulnerable children and women. Jill, now residing in Wake Forest, NC, with her husband, has two children and a grandchild.

Jill Giles

Care Director

Meet Jill Giles!

Jill Giles, Care Director at Onehope Refuge brings a wealth of experience. Graduating with honors in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania University in 2009, Jill spent two years as a Case Manager, then moved to Williamsport in 2011. There, she served as a contract social worker, pioneering the Medication Assisted Treatment Program and managing the drug and alcohol program for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. With 10 years in various roles, including Correctional Officer and Case Manager/Treatment Specialist, Jill specialized in working with female offenders, veterans, and mental health units. Certified in various programs, she was promoted to Director of Residential Unit Management in December 2022 at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. In May 2023, Jill and her husband relocated to Raleigh, NC, due to his job transfer. Married for 19 years, Jill has four children and six grandchildren, enjoys horseback riding, and caring for her dog and cat.

Get to know our board.

Meet Will!

Board Chair

Dr. Will Gatling, D.Min., from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, serves as the Associate Director of Grow in His Word Ministries, Inc. Recently retired as the Pastor for Missions at Bay Leaf Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC, he boasts a rich career, contributing as Minister of Education, Church Administrator, and Missions Pastor in Virginia, Texas, and North Carolina. With a global perspective, Dr. Gatling has traveled to over thirty countries, leading numerous mission trips and teaching in diverse cross-cultural settings. Residing in Northern Virginia with his wife, they share the joy of two sons and three grandchildren.

Meet Eva!

Board Treasurer

Eva, Little Lambs Director at Bay Leaf Baptist Church, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Belmont Abbey College in Business Administration with a minor in Computer Studies. With 25 years in Raleigh, she’s contributed to faith-based ministries and served on multiple nonprofit boards. Eva excelled in the accounting department of the North Carolina United Methodist Conference and later held nonprofit leadership roles in faith-based childcare for 17 years. Previously directing accounting at a consulting firm while running her bookkeeping business, Eva’s passion for empowering women emerged through childcare leadership and a Moldova mission trip. Based in Raleigh with her husband, Scott, they cherish their two adult children.

Meet Vince!

Board Member

Vince graduated from the Catholic University of America with a BS in Architecture and after a stint with the Central Intelligence Agency, embarked on a 28 year career in retail where he discovered his passion for business, management, leadership, and mentoring. Holding every frontline management role prepared him to become Senior Vice President of Retail at Hugo Boss and then Giorgio Armani. Vince and his wife Joy moved to Raleigh in 2019 where he is an active member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, co-leading the Prison Pen Pal Ministry and supporting various other ministries. He has received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University and now advocates against human trafficking with NC Stop Human Trafficking and the NC Demand Reduction Task Force.

Meet Darlene!

Board Member

With over 35 years of mentoring women, Darlene passionately guides individuals toward realizing God’s fullest potential. As a former Women’s Ministry Director at a 1,000-member church, she served as a Biblical Counselor, pioneered mentoring programs, and led stress management and transformed thoughts workshops. As Regional Director for an International Bible study, Darlene managed 42 classes, trained leaders nationally, and spoke at conferences. Board Certified in Advanced Christian Life Coaching and Biblical Counseling, she excels in areas like Stress and Trauma Care, Anxiety, and Depression. Committed to sharing God’s love and helping others find healing, Darlene, married for 37 years, embraces His purpose for their lives. Explore her wealth of experience on her website.

Meet Joe!

Board Member

Joe, a Cartersville, GA native and Clemson University graduate, launched his finance career at Southern Bank, later joining First Union. With a Master’s in Business Administration added in 1990, he sensed a divine calling in the early ‘90s to utilize his business skills for ministry. In 1997, Joe became Finance Manager at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, where he dedicated 25 years, holding diverse roles, including Interim Executive Director, Operations. Beyond career achievements, Joe values family, cherishing 34 years of marriage and the journey of parenthood with four adult children. Guided by a Purpose Statement emphasizing relentless pursuit and enthusiastic service, Joe embraces opportunities to serve with integrity and thankfulness.

Our story.

Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

The call of Onehope Refuge.

In 2001, the seed of serving vulnerable children was planted in my heart when adopting my first child. After years of equipping, in 2020, God’s call became clear during a sermon on Nehemiah, inspiring me to pray about what truly broke my heart. In 2021, the desire to open a group home for children faced obstacles due to the Family First Act in NC. Undeterred, I sought God’s guidance, leading me to the overlooked needs of women with children rescued from sex trafficking.

Discovering a gap in services for these women and children, I realized this was God’s calling. My passion for preserving family bonds aligned with God’s design, recognizing the profound impact of trauma on children. Onehope Refuge was born, by the grace of God and guided by the belief in Jesus Christ’s power to bring hope and healing to break generational cycles of trauma.

As I revisit my prayer journals over many years, time after time I see where I wrote, “Here I am Lord, send me,” or prayed to show me what I could do for Him and to please use me. I can remember hearing amazing stories

of how God called this person into ministry or sent this person to go out into the mission field. I’d think to myself, here I am begging God to use me and nothing, so I thought.

I now see how God was preparing me all along to open Onehope Refuge, using all things in my life for such a time as this. He was teaching me to depend on Him through prayer, growing me in His Word, allowing me to experience the care needed in raising two adopted children, and serving families through foster care.

Most importantly though, God was waiting for me to understand it was all about Him and nothing about me. God truly calls all of us to serve Him, we are His hands and feet. We all have a calling to meet the needs of those who are hungry, defend the oppressed, the rights of the poor and needy, take up the cause of the fatherless and seek justice. I’m simply obeying the call He gives to each of us for His glory and His namesake. Onehope Refuge is God’s ministry, not mine, He’s just allowing me to steer for a time.


Jill Kearney