Nat’l Salvation Army Week, Part III: Pathway of Hope
National Salvation Army Week is May 14-20. To celebrate, The Salvation Army Northern Division will publish a special story every weekday of the event. Each story will highlight a topic or service that illustrates how The Salvation Army is Doing the Most Good® in Minnesota and North Dakota. Please help us #FightForGood by volunteering or making a donation.
The Salvation Army recognizes that services such as food and rent assistance are sometimes a temporary solution to a deeper problem.
Enter Pathway of Hope, a Salvation Army mentoring program that seeks to end poverty by focusing on and eliminating its root causes.
Pathway of Hope is offered at Salvation Army locations across Minnesota and North Dakota, providing free, long-term mentoring for families with children under the age of 18. Each family meets with a case manager at least once a week to set short- and long-term goals such as securing work or housing, obtaining an education, getting a driver’s license, or creating a budget. Graduation takes six months to a year.
“Many people in poverty don’t have anybody who can say to them, ‘I love you enough to walk this journey with you,’” said Captain Linda Faye Jones, leader of The Salvation Army in Willmar, Minn. “Pathway of Hope fills this need and meets people where they are at.”
Jones used Pathway of Hope to help a young couple named Tyler and Nara (pictured) break free from dire circumstances. The pair had spent their entire 17-year marriage living without a plan, moving across the country from one city to the next. The stress of their nomadic and financially irresponsible lifestyle, coupled with the difficulty of raising their five kids, had nearly broken them.
Tyler and Nara (pictured) enrolled in Pathway of Hope and began meeting with Jones once or twice a week to formulate a plan for success. Bit by bit, the couple overcame their challenges. Among their accomplishments:
- They became current on all their bills.
- Nara held the same job for a year and was promoted four times.
- They alleviated their need for government assistance.
- They made education a priority for their children.
Tyler and Nara praised The Salvation Army and Pathway of Hope for helping them chart a different course for their family (learn more about Tyler and Nara).
“We had never met people who did something helpful just to do it – they always wanted something in return,” Tyler said. “The people who work (at The Salvation Army) are very genuine and we have never felt judged.”
Added Nara: “For the first time, we feel like we have a home now.”
Spreading the love
Pathway of Hope is growing. The program has served more than 400 families in Minnesota and North Dakota, with about 125 families enrolled right now. The majority of families mentored six months or longer increase their overall stability.
Below are added examples of how Pathway of Hope helps families break the cycle of poverty, leading them toward increased stability that can profoundly affect generations to come.
Success in southern Minnesota: Three families in Mankato, Minn. describe how Pathway of Hope changed their lives.
Resurgence: Pathway of Hope helped a grandmother and her grandkids overcome cancer, a house fire, and a long list of other challenges.
Reclamation in North Dakota: A single mother in Williston, N.D. got back everything she lost – including custody of her son – with help from Pathway of Hope.
Support Pathway of Hope
A gift of $300 helps a Pathway of Hope family accomplish their first goal on the path to stability. Common goals include housing application fees, school books or class fees, clothing for job interviews, license renewal for reliable transportation, mattresses and bed frames, and more.
Join the Fun
To celebrate National Salvation Army Week, we’re hosting nightly trivia May 14-18, aptly named Sal Army Trivia. Are you ready to play? Take a look at our Sal Army Trivia rules so you know what to expect.
Nat’l Salvation Army Week stories
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