Seeing Success & Change: Ottawa

Aug 12, 2019

                A measurement of success is often times: growth, but size isn’t the only way that this can be understood. For the Salvation Army, growing can mean more than spreading our work to more cities, states or countries. The greatest sign of our mission being realized is the growth in our understanding.

  • The understanding to … 
    • more effectively serve your community
    • identify the real issues/needs around us
    • focus on what is most important for those in need
    • leave real lasting changes through our work

The Salvation Army of Ottawa & Northern La Salle County has undergone a growth in understanding over the past few years and the results are undeniably felt by all involved.

Learning From Our Own Experiences

Rachelle May can talk about her work with The Salvation Army, and it might sound very overwhelming, but she explains it all with a smile that never fades and devotion that radiates as she speaks. “I absolutely love this program, it’s my passion! I see the success, potentials and impact it has on an entire community” May explained while shaking her head enthusiastically.

The program she is referring to is Pathway of Hope, which has helped over 150 families in Ottawa & La Salle County learn how to break the cycle of poverty and not only create a better lives for themselves but gift their children a stronger future. {LINK?} As a case manager for Pathway of Hope, Rachelle has seen a number of different types of success over her 4 years. Much like the individualized approach each family receives in the program, Rachelle has tailored her work from a growing understanding her experiences have given her. She sees opportunities to improve her work and add to the positive changes she creates for those in need; and all of it hasn’t gone unnoticed as the Salvation Army of Ottawa & Northern La Salle County has been recognized directly thanks to Rachelle’s work. They have both received and are currently nominated for awards that commend their outstanding achievements and Rachelle has even been asked herself to attend the national social services conference.

                How her understanding has come to evolve The Salvation Army’s impact is exactly why such accolades are well deserved. “We have incorporated EDS (Emergency Disaster Services) into our Pathway of Hope program,” she explained one of the ways her focus has shifted for the better, “because after the initial response leaves they will be at risk a lot of times, I have seen it.” After recognizing this common mistake, she put it on herself to offer the support disaster survivors need through the Pathway of Hope. “We do not want to help them after a disaster and just send them on their way. Many times we are working for a whole year helping victims that need us.” Connecting our services like this can be complex but through her years working in The Salvation Army, Rachelle knows how to best execute alongside our local community partners, neighbors and supporters. “We collaborate to ensure we never duplicate services in the area. This makes our supportive funding go farther while also giving our community the most out of everything we, and others around us, have to offer.”

                “Doing The Most Good” is how we describe our work here at The Salvation Army, and Rachelle wholly embodies this phrase! She is constantly improving the impact felt around Ottawa and Northern La Salle County by learning and growing from her past experiences. She continues to redefine what the “most good” is for herself: whether it is through working to stretch the Pathway of Hope program to meet more people in need of assistance or focusing on younger generations to start building a brighter community future. “It is about being more in tune with people.” Rachelle described her position simply, “And with our help things will eventually turn around for them.” More than just helping, her work is serving as a challenge to other Salvation Army communities to grow their understanding as well. Across the Heartland Division this type of dedication is being echoed, but Rachelle’s enthusiasm and keen eye for opportunities to improve are undoubtedly unique to her.


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