The Salvation Army has launched a bold new national initiative entitled Pathway of Hope aimed at helping families leave poverty behind for good. Pathway of Hope focuses on the long-term goal of self-sufficiency and is designed to help impoverished families permanently break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
In 2016, The Salvation Army introduced this initiative with a grant of $50,000 from the Santander Bank Foundation. The purpose of the grant was to engage Central Pennsylvania Pathway of Hope families in the six month Making Money Count financial literacy curriculum. This program enhances families’ understanding of basic financial concepts and addresses common obstacles to improved financial standing.
“By supporting the Salvation Army’s Making Money Count project and its Pathway of Hope program, we can ensure that children learn the fundamental concepts of saving and managing money while adults learn how to budget, save and use credit responsibly—skills that will empower them to take control of their financial futures,” said Jim Wujcik, Regional Director for Business Banking at Santander. “The Salvation Army is a beacon of hope for the millions of Americans who rely on their vast services and this program is a way to help families move from dependency to self-sufficiency.”
Making Money Count includes the use of intensive case management, personal financial literacy coaching, and a user-friendly, self-guided curriculum. The Santander Bank Foundation’s generous contribution and in combination with other community support helped 16 families in the Central Pennsylvania region graduate from the Pathway of Hope’s Making Money Count curriculum this year, all of whom were able to successfully enhance their financial literacy knowledge. These families are on the road to self-sufficiency, as are the eight other families still enrolled in the program. One client shared her story:
Diane, from Lancaster County, was struggling to make ends meet as a full-time student with a 7-year-old son. She kept falling further behind until eventually, she reached rock bottom; Diane and her son became homeless. They stayed with friends as much as possible, but before long they had to go to a shelter where they stayed for five months. Although she continued to attend school and work hard, Diane knew she needed to find long-term stability. Fortunately, Pathway of Hope helped her achieve that goal.
“Pathway of Hope provided financial classes that helped me with my budget and savings,” Diane says. “My son also went to class, and he learned how to budget and save his allowance money. I’ve also learned how to cook healthy meals for my family and how to shop for produce.”
Now living in a small apartment with her son, Diane continues to participate in Pathway of Hope. ‘’I’m hoping the program can help me sustain myself,” she says. “I want to be a positive member of society. The Salvation Army has done so much for me and my son,” she adds, “and they do so much for the community.”