Pathway of Hope, changing lives in Shelby County

By Capt. Samantha Lockard - Guest columnist

The Salvation Army, located at 419 Buckeye Ave., in Sidney, has brought Pathway of Hope to Shelby County. Pathway of Hope (POH) is an intensive case management initiative that connects clients to existing community programs and opportunities, in an effort to end the cycle of poverty one family at a time.

After studying generational poverty and its roots, The Salvation Army launched its national POH initiative in 2011, to help families combat the chronic cycles associated with intergenerational poverty. This initiative was built on the Army’s foundations of transformation while expanding on its history of addressing immediate needs.

POH has been designed to be a long-term goal driven and goal achieving process. As participants experience success, it strengthens their hope in future successes. The Army’s founder, William Booth, understood the connection between hope and personal transformation. Ever since its founding in 1865, they have sought to foster hope in those entrapped in difficult life circumstances.

The Salvation Army, particularly in the United States, is known for providing safety net services. Communities depend on The Salvation Army’s resources for short term material assistance. Pathway of Hope takes The Salvation Army’s mission of “meeting human needs” one step further by providing families with individualized comprehensive services in addition to its traditional safety net services.

After reviewing antipoverty models, POH’s strength-based case management approach was established. This approach leads to a holistic strategy, aimed at ending the cycle of poverty one family at a time.

Since POH’s establishment, more than 7,000 families across the United States have participated in this strength-based case management approach. Statistics show promising increases in overall family stability and hope. In The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory 79% of participants have noted an improvement in self-sufficiency and 67% have noted an improvement in hope.

In the fall of 2018, The Salvation Army in Sidney hired the Timothy Group from Grand Rapids, Michigan to conduct a Program Study. From this study, the Timothy Group and The Salvation Army noticed that POH would be an asset to Shelby County.

The Salvation Army in Sidney is no stranger to studying the needs of the community and adapting its programs and services to best serve Shelby County.

In 1987 The Salvation Army hired Renewal Associates from Syracuse, New York to conduct a Program Study. That study brought about 10 recommendation; employ a professional social work supervisor, expand the youth and recreation program, strengthen volunteer efforts of the Corps (church), conduct a capital fund drive, build an addition and renovate existing Corps to provide for the expansion of needed services, establish an emergency shelter, enlarge the existing kitchen, involve soldiers (church members) in community outreach, explore joint venture in day care, and explore development of senior citizen center.

In 1989 The Salvation Army ran a capital campaign; raising funds for an addition to house a day care center, expanding the existing kitchen, and renovating the property next door for an emergency shelter. The proposed day care was constructed, the existing kitchen was expanded, but the shelter project never came to fruition.

In an article published in the Sidney Daily News on May 30, 1990, The Salvation Army announced that they would withdraw their plans for an emergency shelter. This article highlighted the opposition The Salvation Army received from the neighbors as well as the City in relation to its shelter project. The Commanding Officer at the time, Lt. Tamayo, stated that The Salvation Army had been a good neighbor for 22 years and planned to continue to be a good neighbor. In an effort to continue being a good neighbor, The Salvation Army needed to meet with the neighbors and city officials to review their options.

Over the course of the next three years, The Salvation Army continued its work with the Zoning Board and its neighbors to establish a solution that was beneficial for all. A mutual solution was not found in reference to the shelter project.

Over the years, The Salvation Army has given serious consideration to the building of a shelter and/or transitional housing facility in Sidney. Feasibility studies showed that while construction was possible, sustainability was not.

It is worth mentioning that the monies from the capital campaign, intended for the original shelter project, have been invested in an interest-bearing account at The Salvation Army’s Territorial Headquarters in West Nyack, New York. From the beginning, the interest generated from this account, in its entirety, has been reinvested into the lives of Shelby County residents via The Salvation Army’s programs and services. The Salvation Army’s Sidney office receives these interest payments biannually.

After prayerful consideration, The Salvation Army has reallocated the shelter monies to fund the direct services associated with Pathway of Hope.

Capt. Katie said, “These services take a proactive approach, rather than the traditional reactive approach, to the variety of challenges that some Shelby County families face today. As comprehensive as POH is, one of the things that most excites me about this initiative is the homelessness prevention component.”

Mayor Mike Barhorst expressed his support of The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope initiative by saying: “I believe strongly that the Salvation Army’s decision to introduce their Pathway of Hope initiative locally will be a far better use of scarce resources. That initiative provides individualized services to families with children who desire to take action to break the cycle of crisis and vulnerability that repeats generation after generation. Pathway of Hope seeks to address the root causes of poverty. Certainly, by helping families overcome challenges like unemployment, unstable housing, and the lack of education, The Salvation Army can lead families down a path toward increased stability and, ultimately, self-sufficiency. In both the long run and the short term, that initiative has the potential to benefit this community far more than a shelter ever would.”

In January of 2020, The Salvation Army hired Angela “Angie” Grilliot as the Social Ministries Manager and Pathway of Hope Case Worker. Angie joins The Salvation Army as a licensed social worker with a Masters of Arts in Social Work from Wright State University and Miami University and more than 20 years of experience in and around the social services industry.

“The Board and Staff of the Salvation Army are excited about the unique opportunity to introduce Pathway of Hope to those in need in Sidney and Shelby County” said Advisory Board member Bruce Toal. “Families participating in POH make a commitment to work together towards creating a stable, loving and self-sufficient family unit and fulfill the purpose God has intended for them. The Salvation Army has made an incredible commitment to Shelby County families in need through Pathway of Hope. The commitment to totally fund the program through funds previously intended for a homeless shelter is a real answer to prayer and will make changes for families in Shelby County for generations to come.”

By Capt. Samantha Lockard

Guest columnist

The writer is a pastor and assistant corps officer with the Salvation Army Sidney/Shelby County.

The writer is a pastor and assistant corps officer with the Salvation Army Sidney/Shelby County.