The Salvation Army Fond du Lac's Pathway of Hope Success: Dorya

Jul 10, 2018

“Others. “  Salvation Army founder William Booth’s one-word directive steers The Fond du Lac Salvation Army Corps to create inspired relationships and opportunities to serve others more effectively. The Pathway of Hope program does exactly that, creating inspired relationships and opportunities for Fond du Lac to (FdL) join with us to serve families who seek The Salvation Army out when they are struggling for a foothold in the community, desperate to create a better set of circumstances.    

 Captains Steven and Telinda Wilson came to Fond du Lac in 2012 and the Pathway of Hope Program began in 2013. Captains are tremendous advocates of the program and magnetized a staff of highly trained professionals, each with experience and expertise to implement a POH program with impact: Case Manager and POH Coordinator Amber Arntz transferred to FdL from The Salvation Army Hope Shelter, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Administration and pursues a Master’s in Transnational Human Services.  Ron Jacobson, Director of Social Services, brings a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, a Master’s degree in Education, and area social service experience to help POH overcome even the most difficult client issues.   Connie Millard, Community Resource Development Director, brings a B.S. public relations degree and decades of implementing effective community networks to the team and passionately pursues any community resources POH clients need to succeed.

We are a close-knit team.  We appreciate the unique skills and talents of our teammates and are humbled by the impact we have as we work together with POH families, following William Booth’s directive of compassionately putting others first.  The commitment we ask POH clients to demonstrate up-front helps enroll POH clients with the fortitude to work with our team and see the program through.  Teamwork and commitment make the difference families seek:

Dorya and her four children were homeless when they came to The Salvation Army on referral from a school principal.  Amber Arntz, a Caseworker at The Salvation Army met Dorya and was struck with her determination and desire to work hard, two key components to successful POH candidates.   Amber provided an overview of the program and invited Dorya to a second meeting. When Dorya kept the next appointment, she demonstrated her willingness to do whatever was needed to create better circumstances for her family.  Only then did Amber enroll her in Pathway of Hope.

The Salvation Army became Dorya’s partner in progress.  The work began.

Amber asked, “When you think of your future, what do you see?”

Dorya’s answer reflected her family’s unique struggles and also mapped the goals and guideposts to achieving Dorya’s vision.  Dorya had a part-time job, but with four kids, it wasn’t enough to feed, clothe and put a roof over their heads. She wanted a home. First, she needed full-time employment and dependable childcare for her preschooler.  We helped, creating a resume, guiding and encouraging her as she moved forward.  When she landed an interview, we coached her before the big day and helped her create a thank you to leave behind. It worked – she had a full-time job with childcare in less than a month.  Dorya moved her family into an apartment, we sent a welcome basket; when her children had birthdays, Dorya came to pick out toys donated from the community and a birthday cake bag donated by a local 4-H.

Then, after a few months, Dorya discovered she was pregnant with her fifth child. The pregnancy was troubled and complications developed that forced Dorya to quit her job.  The baby came 4 months early, weighed only 2 lbs. and needed special care from Wisconsin Children’s Hospital. Dorya traveled back and forth to nurse her little newborn for 5 months. We reached out to the community, asking for their help, and they enthusiastically responded to our call. Marian University nursing and social work students offered to care for her children; a community organization, “Giving Soles” helped us offset her living expenses. 

Throughout, The Salvation Army church extended its helping hands and compassionate heart to Dorya. Salvation Army soldiers and women’s ministries made meals, and visited; our Captains were there with spiritual support. 

“Dorya’s inner faith gave her the courage to reach out and ask us to strengthen her with our faith when her pregnancy was jeopardized and we are so thankful,” Captain Telinda Wilson shares.

Together we worked, together we prayed, and together we helped. Dorya kept going, we kept cheering her on and our community embraced her.

Today, Dorya is working full-time once again in her new position:  Assistant Manager of our Salvation Army Thrift Store.

"With all her experience managing a family, she’s perfect for the job," Bill, the store manager, says with a smile.

In December, President Obama’s Advisory Council for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships heard Dorya’s story. And a local photographer contributed a free family portrait session to celebrate the family of five, and Dorya, our first Pathway of Hope graduate. Dorya lives the vision she described to Amber when she began POH over a year ago.

"Pathway of Hope gave me hope just at the time I felt like giving up. The church and staff surrounded me with prayer and encouragement.  I now have confidence in myself. I know I can overcome any obstacle,” Dorya shares.  

Dorya understands the difference POH makes. So do her children. One drew a picture for us and wrote, “Thank you for what you did for my family.” 

Arntz says it’s gratifying to help families work themselves into better circumstances.  Watching their sense of pride and accomplishment grow as they help themselves is rewarding; hearing their renewed sense of hope for the future is proof positive The Pathway of Hope is on the right track. 

 Eleven clients have enrolled in POH since 2013.  One is still active, 3 have graduated and seven opted out of the program.   Pathway of Hope in Fond du Lac exemplifies how intentionally integrating The Salvation Army social service, church, and Corp. activities with the community forges a network of resources that put the needs of others first.  United, we continue William Booth’s work.

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