Counter Kettle Sign

Welcome to RealStoriesDane.org

This web page is dedicated to sharing the remarkable stories of transformation that are occurring right here at the Salvation Army of Dane County. In our 125th year we wanted to celebrate by sharing the great stories of transformation that we are priviledged to watch unfold every day. Most people are familiar with our red kettles during the Christmas season, but may not know our work extends throughout the year. After 125 of those years you might say we are 24/7/365/125! Most of the people we serve have many difficult and inter-related needs. Sometimes those needs create a complexity of barriers that make it very difficult to change their life circumstances without a helping hand. However, with the loving support of our case workers, people are often able to face and solve their problems . Little by little, challenge by challenge, victory by victory people begin to transform their lives from instability to stability, from homelessness to a home, from being receivers of services to eventually becoming contributors to our community.

The Salvation Army & The Madison Reading Project Partner to Build Computer Lab for Under-Served Children

Check out this awesome video produced by TNT.

Children whose families are enduring difficult economic times often fall behind their peers academically. The Salvation Army Community Center and its staff of teachers offer intensive after-school reading programs and summer day camps with an academic emphasis. The children participating in these programs need lots of love and instruction but it is becoming increasingly difficult to offer the instruction they need without the aid of web-based resources. Today’s school curricula rely on computer skills in conjunction with academic instruction. Students often need access to on-line computers for homework, research and other projects.  The children served by The Salvation Army of Dane County do not generally have access to on-line resources at home.  That is why we have been working with the Madison Reading Project to build a facility that helps children excel in today’s academic systems. 

Yasmin's Remarkable Journey: From Addiction to UW Masters Program

Yasmin's is a beautiful story of how she overcame long-term addiction and homelessness to rebuild her life piece by piece, and is now a graduate candidate at the UW School of Social Work. See how she has become "a beacon of light", a case-worker helping rescue others from what she calls "The Black Hole" of addiction.  However, the video comes with a warning that you just might find inspiration to face the challenges in your own life.       

  

SUSAN: A WARM PLACE TO SPEND THE WINTER

Susan

Susan is 72 years old and has been chronically homeless for years. Her mental health inhibits her ability to trust homeless services providers and, as such, she sleeps outside. This past winter was brutal. Street outreach workers tried to engage Susan and encourage her to go to The Salvation Army’s Single Women’s Shelter, but she was hesitant. Instead, she layered herself with four long wool coats and as many hats. Her skin was chapped from the biting cold and her feet were growing infectious because her boots had holes in them.                                                                                                                                     

Click here to help people like Susan.

A JOB FOR JAQUAN

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Jaquan is a long-time east-side resident and member of The Salvation Army Adult Community Center.  He grew up in Madison, attending East High School. Jaquan struggled with lack of direction in his younger days and ended up serving time in prison. This made it difficult for him to find gainful employment. Jaquan would often say that he felt incomplete as a man for not being able to provide for his family. At times his mate would belittle him for not having a job. Trying to make a better life for himself and his family, Jaquan started attending a Salvation Army collaborative program called Job Connect. Job Connect is a comprehensive program that assists people with many services including child care, housing, food assistance, employment training, resume building, mock interviewing and on-site job recruitment. Through Job Connect, Jaquan enrolled in U-Construct, a program that taught him constructions kills. Subsequently, he landed a well-paying job with a construction company. Jaquan is thankful for The Salvation Army and the Job Connect program. He and his partner are getting along well, and Jaquan is proud that he is providing for his family and himself. To support others on their journey to full employment like Jaquan click here.

DARCIA: From Shelter Client to Shelter Staff

Help Dane County Families Exit Homelessness

A NEW START FOR ABEL AND HIS FAMILY

Hispanic Father and Son

Abel, a single dad, and his 15 year old son stayed in The Salvation Army’s Emergency Family Shelter after living outside in a tent for many months. Abel struggled with symptoms of schizophrenia for most of his adult life and was not receiving treatment. Once safely tucked away in the Shelter, Abel’s case manager referred his family to the "Houseability" program. Houseability is a joint project between The Road Home, the YWCA and The Salvation Army that provides deep rent subsidies and intensive case management for adults who have disabilities and minor children. Abel was accepted into the program and move into a two bedroom apartment with his two sons.  With the assistance of his Houseablility case manager, he began going to regular medical appointments and is now getting proper medical care for his symptoms.  Abel was also referred to the Yahara House by his case manager, which provides him with emotional support, mental health therapy services and employment training. Abel goes to Yahara House several days a week and is learning how to use video equipment and do sound and visual editing. Prior to participating in Houseability, Abel’s boys were truant a majority of the time. Both children are now actively attending school and getting appropriate support. They also successfully completed a youth job skills training program several months ago that they were referred to by their case manager. Abel’s oldest son is enrolled in Operation Fresh Start where he is learning construction skills while finishing his degree. Abel and his boys meet with their case manager to discuss family goals, issues, past trauma and various needs. The family now hosts large meals with cousins, aunts, nieces and nephews in their own home. Abel, once a chef before becoming homeless, cooks wonderful meals.  Their home is filled with sounds of laughter and conversation and the delicious smells of their cultural cuisines. To support the stabilization of more families like Abel's click here.