In 2004, Connecticut became the richest state in the nation to set a goal of reducing child poverty, aiming to cut child poverty rates in half by the year 2014. Unfortunately, the state failed in this endeavor, instead allowing child poverty rates to increase significantly over the course of the last decade.
The Salvation Army knows that there will always be a need for no-questions-asked, no-obligation help to those in crisis. Always. We’ve been providing it for 150 years, and we have no intention of stopping now or in the future. However, that cannot be all that we do. Because unless we find strategic, multi-faceted solutions that address the root causes generating this need, The Salvation Army will simply be trapped in a cycle of addressing solely the resulting symptoms as the people that we are trying to help continually find themselves in crisis time and time again.
Our donors share the Army’s commitment to alleviating suffering and providing hope and opportunity to those who are struggling. In turn, this fosters a common desire to respond to their needs with programs that have meaningful, lasting, and–ultimately–multi-generational impact.
So what can we do?
The Salvation Army has invested into an initiative called Pathway of Hope.
With its design to help hard-working, dedicated families who simply do not have the means to get ahead in life on their own, Pathway of Hope provides the guidance, tools, and assistance necessary to support struggling families along the continuum of growth to self-sufficiency.
Nationally, Pathway of Hope is a huge undertaking. But on a local scale, it’s surprisingly manageable. To implement the program, we use our existing network of Corps Community Centers. The program has been rolled out in clusters, each of which include at least 3 key cities with Bridgeport, Meriden, and New Haven being introduced as our initial cluster.
Annually, Pathway of Hope costs $100,000 per site. This includes funds for staff and a broad spectrum of emergency family assistance funds for the initiative.
The Plan of Action – helping those who want to move ahead.
Pathway of Hope is strengths-based. That means it focuses on possibilities rather than problems. We help families identify the skills and assets that they bring to the table before collaborating with them to make a plan utilizing those very strengths to improve their situation.
Using a case management approach with each client, Pathway of Hope is designed so that each family receives a personal plan of action tailored specifically to meet their needs. This plan will not only help them to achieve important goals across a broad spectrum of areas in their lives, but also provide them with a “go-to person” at The Salvation Army who serves as a “one-stop shop,” connecting them with resources and holding them accountable for the goals that they themselves have set.
Thanks to the generosity of several leadership gifts, Pathway of Hope is a reality in Connecticut and began in the spring of 2016 with our first cluster (Bridgeport, Meriden, and New Haven).
Additional financial support from donors is critical to the success of this important work, so please consider how you might be a part of the most comprehensive approach that The Salvation Army has implemented to date in the hopes of ending poverty for families across generations by saying, “Yes!” to opportunities to support it.
From the days of our founders, The Salvation Army has been serving the physical and spiritual needs of the impoverished. In 2012, we provided nearly 10 million nights of lodging and 60 million meals across the United States. Even so, we realize that this is merely the equivalent of placing Band-Aids on gaping wounds. Hence our introduction of Pathway of Hope, the strengths-based, long-term approach that looks to combat this by helping families leave poverty behind permanently.
We won’t have any big, sweeping numbers to report within the first year—after all, we are talking about deep, generational cycles of poverty—so, if you like large statistics and immediate gratification, then this is not the investment for you. But this is only because Pathway of Hope is not simply about big outputs or pumping out numbers. It’s about sincere, genuine, qualitative outcomes that extend far further than simple statistics are able to depict. It’s about going the distance and walking alongside these families in need so that they can achieve lasting change, both for themselves and their children.
And so, we want to ask you—will you go the distance with us?
• Salvation Army Case Managers interview families who express interest in Pathway of Hope and are motivated to change.
• A mutually agreed upon action plan is created.
• Families meet regularly with their case manager to report progress and work on challenges.
• Those who fail to comply are given 3 formal warnings before being exited from the program to allow for another family to participate.
• All graduates have attained increased stability in key areas like employment, stable housing, education, and family relations. Their sustained success is tracked at 3, 6, and 12 month intervals, post-graduation.
Children who live in poverty are 32 times more likely to remain in poverty according to The Urban Institute.
The Salvation Army's Pathway of Hope Initiative is a free life- skills program that engages those who have the desire to break the cycle of poverty, but just can't get there without someone to guide them.
Pathway of Hope Case Managers provide one-on-one mentorship - anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. They help participants work towards goals that lead them down a path to better job skills, education, access, and problem solving strategies. This helps them become less vulnerable and more likely to respond positively to new challenges.
Pathway of Hope seeks to interrupt the cycle of inter-generational poverty by allowing The Salvation Army to teach participants to be resourceful and resilient. You might say "teaching a person to fish."
But more significantly it is - their pond - their pole - and their efforts that teach best, so they lead the way. We provide guidance, they do the work.
Graduates will have better opportunities in key areas like education, employment, stable housing, and family relations that lead to lasting stability - for generations.
If you believe that investing in one family at a cost of $5,000 per year through Pathway of Hope makes more sense than supporting that same family through the social service network at a (modest) cost estimate of $26,000 per year - then Pathway of Hope is right for you. The benefits reach beyond families and into the communities in which they live.
Pathway of Hope costs $100,000 per year to serve 20 families at each service location or $5,000 per family.
Let's talk about how your gift of stock, cash, or from your Donor Advised Fund or IRA can make permanent change in the lives of those who struggle.
For more information contact Jennifer Meligonis DeJohn at Jennifer.DeJohn@use.salvationarmy.org or call (Office) (860) 702-0037
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
Whether it's embracing the homeless, uplifting the abused or abandoned, training and mentoring the disadvantaged, providing character building programs for youth, or assisting the displaced or elderly, The Salvation Army's goal remains the same: serving the most people, meeting the most needs, DOING THE MOST GOOD!