A New Salvation Army Program for Alaska Focuses on Breaking the Cycle of Family Poverty

Aug 7, 2020 | by Lessa Peter

Pathway of Hope Initiative Begins in Alaska

In February, The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope initiative launched in Alaska under the leadership of the new divisional program director, Lisa Foster. Foster has a background in the Air Force and prior to Pathway of Hope managed a government-run social service program for Air Force families. In addition to her role as director, she is also currently working towards her master’s degree in social work.

While Pathway of Hope may be a new concept to Salvation Army caseworkers and officers in Alaska, the program itself has been a resource for many divisions in the lower 48 since 2011. The program is rooted in intensive case management and its purpose is to help families with children who desire to break the cycle of generational poverty.  The program seeks to address the root causes of poverty such as unemployment, unstable housing and lack of self-sufficiency.

“The program itself has had a lot of success because it has a low cost of overhead but consistently provides results of positive change for families who desire to overcome generational poverty,” said Foster. “As the director for the program, I am virtually meeting with Salvation Army officers and caseworkers throughout Alaska to conduct training which will help them provide intensive case management to local families in need.”

In her position, Foster researches resources and other programs and services that can benefit a family or family members and serves as the connector to those services. She often has direct contact with other nonprofit organizations, companies and landlords who are willing to work with a family to become self-sufficient.

“Although the program has only been in place in Alaska since February, it has already shown positive results. Just recently we were able to get a mother into training to become a certified nursing assistant as well as job training for her teen daughter.”

“There is a family we are working with that has continuously struggled with stable housing and used our food pantry for a long time. Through Pathway of Hope, we were able to meet with the mother and found out that she has experience as a phlebotomist, but, had lost her certification due to not being able to pay the renewal fees,” said Captain Denice Delgado, The Salvation Army’s Associate Anchorage Social Services Director. “We were able to help her with recertification fees to help her get back on her feet.”

A Pathway of Hope family can receive services anywhere from 12 to 18 months, taking part in what may be weekly to monthly meetings with their case manager. Because the case management is intensive, most case managers can only handle two to three cases at a time. In the future, we hope to have additional caseworkers to meet the increasing need of those who are experiencing generational poverty in Alaska.

To learn more about Pathway of Hope, visit https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/pathway/

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