The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope has given Georgia client road map for progress

By: Brad Rowland

Life has been hard for Kaitlyn. A childhood accident created medical issues, and an abusive relationship in adulthood created fears for the safety of herself and her children. With the help of The Salvation Army in Dalton, Georgia, Kaitlyn’s life is on track and the Pathway of Hope initiative has been central to her progress.

In May 2019, Kaitlyn came to The Salvation Army and enrolled in a transitional housing program. She was referred by a family crisis center in Dalton with her children alongside. She was trying to escape from a problematic relationship situation. Prior to arrival, she re-connected with her father, who was also in the Dalton area in a recovery program, and though Kaitlyn was battling fear in the early days, it quickly faded.

“First, she was a little bit afraid, but she was determined that she could do it,” said Brenda Foster, The Salvation Army’s case manager in Dalton. “She got rid of the fear and was determined that she was going to make it for herself and her kids the best that she possibly could. She is motivated and determined to break the cycle and have her children do better and have the chance to avoid the things that she went through.”

After a few months in the transitional housing program, Kaitlyn moved into Pathway of Hope, taking to the initiative quickly and investing in the tools provided. She secured transportation and budgeted effectively, advocating for herself to find growth in a new job and finding confidence in her abilities.

“One of the amazing things about Pathway of Hope to me, is that the people have the chance to address those barriers in life,” Foster said. “Kaitlyn is an amazing young lady. She has embraced the program, even from when she started in transitional housing. Any opportunity placed in front of her, she embraces it, and we’re proud of her.”

Eventually, she was able to find permanent housing for her family, making it on her own for the first time. Kaitlyn recently completed enrollment at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, where she plans to focus on social work and a potential specialty in the battle against domestic violence. She is passionate about using her own story to help others, including the express desire to provide a better life for her own children.

“This program will change your life if you are able to do the work,” said Foster. “You’ve got to put the work in, and we tell people that. But Pathway of Hope really will truly change your life if you invest in it. Kaitlyn is amazing and is an example of that. She just never gives up. She’s amazingly determined, and she’s accomplished so much.”

In her own words, Kaitlyn has expressed great thanks to The Salvation Army and the Pathway of Hope program. “I have hope and a future like I have never had,” she says plainly, and Kaitlyn’s gratitude and message to others is potent and inspiring.

“I cannot thank them enough for the love and support they gave me and continue to up to this day,” Kaitlyn said. “I thank God for a place like this and the people and places he has guided me to. My message to others is don’t give up. There is hope, and things may feel like they will never work out, but one day they will fall in place. And if you want it bad enough, you can achieve anything you set your mind to, and you can do amazing things in life.”

Pathway of Hope is a national Salvation Army initiative to help families break the cycle of inter-generational poverty through strength-based case management, community collaboration and data-driven support. More than 1,300 families have been served to date in the Southern Territory.