Decade of Hope: Groundbreaking 'Pathway of Hope' mentoring program celebrates 10 years

Dec 12, 2022

Your donations to The Salvation Army this Christmas season are helping stop generational poverty through our Pathway of Hope initiative – a groundbreaking mentoring program now celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Donate today.

Generational poverty – defined as a family living in poverty for at least two generations – is a difficult cycle to break. It begins when parents model unproductive behaviors to their kids. It continues when their kids become adults and model the same behaviors to their own children. The cycle can affect every aspect of a person’s life: physical, social, emotional, and mental. 

Since 2012, Pathway of Hope has helped countless families to get out of poverty and stay out, impacting the lives of more than 9,200 families and 18,500 children.  

In Pathway of Hope, families receive intensive case management, spiritual guidance, and referral services to improve their lives and futures. Each family meets with a Salvation Army caseworker weekly to set short- and long-term goals such as finding a job, securing housing, creating a budget, obtaining education, and more. Graduation typically takes six months to a year or longer. 

“Today, Pathway of Hope is even more important as inflation threatens to drag new families into generational poverty,” said Lt. Col. Dan Jennings, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “We are proud to celebrate 10 years of Pathway of Hope, the caseworkers who carry out the program, and the families whose lives have changed because of it.”

Pathway of Hope is offered at most Salvation Army operation centers in Minnesota, North Dakota, and throughout the Midwest. The following story is just one example of how the program helps local families to exit poverty and thrive. 

Ruby and Tay

Ruby and Tay had always worked hard to support themselves and Ruby’s two kids, ages 7 and 14. But no matter how hard they tried, they always felt like they were moving backward. 

Early last summer, the couple signed up for Pathway of Hope at the North Minneapolis Salvation Army. At the time, they both had low-paying jobs and worked at opposites times of the day. 

“We barely saw each other,” recalled Ruby, who was working at a gas station. “We really struggled. We had to make crazy decisions, like, ‘Do we sacrifice the light bill to get an oil change?’” 

A Salvation Army caseworker named Nikia (pictured) helped Ruby and Tay find better, more flexible jobs – and also start working toward having bona fide careers. Ruby is now studying to obtain a real estate license, and Tay will soon have his commercial driver’s license to become a truck driver. 

Nikia also helped them set financial goals to find better housing. Now that Ruby and Tay have better jobs, they are on track to move into a bigger home in early 2023.

“We want the kids to have their own rooms,” Tay said. “We are breaking our backs to get this together, and we are finally keeping our heads above water.” 

Despite their own hardships, Ruby and Tay still make time to help others. Three years ago, Tay started a Facebook group that connects people in need with people who can help. The group – called Minnesota Blessing – now has more than 22,000 followers. 

“We help others even when we struggle ourselves,” Tay posted to the group recently. 

Nikia is proud of how far Ruby and Tay have come.

“Ruby and Tay are rocking and rolling,” Nikia said. “They have stable jobs and they are on track with their housing, rent and bills.” 

Ruby and Tay are recently engaged, and they look forward to their future together as husband and wife. They are thankful for the help they received thanks to your donations.

“The Salvation Army helped get us out of a dark place and helped us see the light,” Ruby said. 

This holiday season, The Salvation Army is calling on all of our supporters to Love Beyond. #LoveBeyond is a national Salvation Army campaign that encourages people to put love above all else, in order to show families in need that love exists beyond their most difficult situations – be it hunger, overdue bills, eviction, addiction, and other hardships. Join us by giving a donation, signing up to volunteer, or ringing bells at a Red Kettle

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