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Divada Wilson, pictured left, was helped by The Salvation Army

Series of blows sets woman on pathway to Salvation Army

Added on Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Some days, it can feel like the deck is stacked against you. But for Divada Wilson, a series of blows made it feel like her whole world was coming apart.

“We had been doing okay, we were on the right track,” said the single mom, who is raising her two daughters and her 14-year-old cousin on her own. “But then I made a bad decision to move.”

Wilson and her sister both planned to move from the suburbs to an urban neighborhood together, hoping they could help each other with child care in a more affordable area. But it didn’t work out that way.

Her sister wasn’t able to make the move, her young cousin started to rebel and get in trouble, Wilson’s car broke down, her wallet and identity were stolen and it just got worse from there.

“Someone broke into our house, someone broke into our car, I just didn’t feel safe having my kids get off the school bus and going home alone,” Wilson said, which meant she couldn’t keep her job as a prep cook, either. “I was starting to feel like I couldn’t even put a warm coat on my kids or a pair of shoes on their feet, that makes you feel bad as a mom.”

But then she found The Salvation Army and the Pathway of Hope, a new program designed to do more than simply provide emergency services for people in crisis.

“Instead of saying, hey let’s put a Band-Aid on this with one-time help, let’s look further into what your needs are, so you can meet your greatest potential,” said Emily Shopek, lead social worker at The Salvation Army on N. Lyndale Ave. in Minneapolis.

Pathway of Hope Program

Pathway of Hope helps clients set their own goals and then supplies the tools to help them get there.

“I didn’t feel judged, or looked down on, I felt like they were here to help me,” Wilson said.  She has now figured out how to get her car fixed, taken a financial class to repair her credit, updated her resume and is in the process of finding housing that makes her feel safer. “I want more for my kids, I want more for our life, I am not just looking for a handout.”

Shopek said Wilson is the perfect candidate for Pathway of Hope, “She’s so motivated, she has such a heart for her children and you can see she wants to change her life, she just needed the tools to do it.”

Pathway of Hope helps clients set realistic goals and make a six-month plan, with regular check-ins to provide motivation and support. And that, Wilson said, is what keeps her moving forward.

“It makes me feel like I am getting a handle on things and I can reach my goals.”