Unable to have a child of their own, but finding themselves with plenty of love to give, David and Susan Stephens adopted their two children, Heather and Marcus, from parents crippled by their addiction to crack cocaine. After coming across difficult times resulting from David’s time off work due to illness, and Susan being laid off, the family found themselves on the doorstep of The Salvation Army seeking utility assistance.
After meeting their immediate emergency needs, we referred the family to a Pathway of Hope case manager, who worked with them to help identify and act upon their goals. “The Pathway of Hope case manager genuinely cared about whether my family and I were okay,” said Susan. “She provided a significant amount of emotional support as we struggled to get back on our feet.”
Last Christmas, The Salvation Army provided gifts for their children through the Angel Tree Program. “I can’t tell you what a blessing it was, because in 2015, my children had a very sparse holiday,” Susan recalls. “My then 8-year-old thought Santa didn’t like him. Through the generosity of others, Christmas 2016 was magical for my children.” But the work continued. On the verge of losing their home to foreclosure, Mr. and Mrs. Stephens made it clear that they wanted to make saving their home a priority. Susan also voiced her desire to return to school in order to expand the professional opportunities available to her.
The Pathway of Hope staff worked alongside the family. First, The Salvation Army collaborated with a local community partner, the Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, to assist the family with a mortgage modification, allowing them to keep their home. Second, after being informed of a program at Housatonic Community College, Susan returned to school. Susan arrived early for an appointment one day with her case manager eager to share her grades from the fall semester — a 4.0 GPA! Despite the challenges Susan and her family were facing, with support, she stayed on track and achieved academic success. We are incredibly proud of the Stephens family’s progress, and will continue to stand beside them on their journey to self-improvement this spring.
Isaiah Salafia Pathway of Hope Regional Coordinator