Mark and Michelle Lundstrom know a thing or two about muscling through tough times.
Unable to have children of their own, the couple decided to adopt two children, Samantha and Cole, from parents crippled by their addiction to crack cocaine.
Life was going along wonderfully for the family until Mark became ill and lost his job. Things got worse when Michelle learned that her employer was planning layoffs as well. With their income significantly diminished, the Lundstroms quickly fell behind on their bills.
So they reached out to The Salvation Army in Bridgeport for assistance. Thanks to the astute and caring ear of a staff person, we learned that they were one step away from losing their home as well.
"We're not used to asking for help, but we were overwhelmed and didn't know how to move forward," Michelle commented. This made them ideal candidates for the Pathway of Hope Program - a poverty reduction initiative that assists motivated families in moving from vulnerability to stability.
Pathway of Hope Case Manager, Lisa, helped the Lundstroms identify the circumstances that may have led to their vulnerability. Together, they created an action plan that made the couple the primary agents of change in creating a more stable future.
The family was directed to a local community partner, the Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, and the Lundstroms were placed on a mortgage modification plan which allowed them to keep their home.
Next on the list of goals - increased education for Michelle to improve her employment options. Lisa suggested a program at Housatonic Community College and Michelle returned to school. She arrived early for an appointment one day eager to share her grades from the fall semester - a 4.0 GPA!
"I'm pretty strong, but knowing that our Pathway of Hope Case Manager, Lisa, genuinely cared about whether my family and I were okay was an enormous boost," said Michelle."She provided a significant amount of emotional support as we struggled to get back on our feet."
Fortified by the strength developed by achieving incremental goals, they are facing the future with renewed confidence. We couldn't be more proud of them!