Sharonda Mobley came to The Salvation Army after leaving an abusive relationship; she and her two young children were living in a domestic violence shelter. Thanks to The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope initiative, Mobley and her family are now self-supporting, and she’s well on her way to becoming an independent businesswoman.
“They showed me someone’s always there,” Mobley said, “people are so loving and want nothing but the best for you. And out of all that, you should want the best for yourself. I came out of a bad situation, and the [The Salvation Army] Pathway of Hope gave me encouragement to move on from that – to start my own business and get my life back on track.”
Pathway of Hope is a national initiative of The Salvation Army to help families break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through strength-based case management, community collaboration, and data-driven support.
“Of the families that successfully complete the program, we’re seeing average income growth for each of them of over $2,000 annually . . . plus a $4,000 increase in non-cash benefits, such as SNAP food assistance,” says Ronald Skeete, Pathway of Hope Director. For clients that leave before completing the initiative, “as long as they stay with us for three months, we see an 86 percent increase in stability.”
Part of the holistic approach of this initiative is pastoral care. The Salvation Army has a goal for at least one-third of the Pathway of Hope families be engaged with the voluntary pastoral care services that are provided. Currently at 22% participation, Salvation Army mission specialists collaborate with local case manages to increase spiritual engagement.
Pathway of Hope has a threefold purpose: Stabilize families, help them set goals and develop new life habits. Which brings us back to Sharonda Mobley.
“It has been amazing working with her,” said case manager Elizabeth Rogg. “She’s been very self-driven from the get-go. When she first came here (in the spring of 2018) and we did her goal-setting, she saw the immediate needs she needed to take care of – getting into housing, and getting her car fixed – but she looked beyond that and really stuck to her dreams.”
Once the family was settled in an apartment and their car was running again, Rogg said, “it was a matter of starting over for her – she had never been on her own before – so, learning how to navigate this thing called life.”
Mobley was working as a hotel housekeeper with a goal of something greater – starting her own cleaning company. She secured a business name, got a registered tax ID and grew her company’s client base to the point she could leave her hotel job and be her own boss. As summer passed and business slowed, Mobley took a seasonal position as a store clerk at The Salvation Army Family Store.
In spring, business picked up, and Mobley was back to cleaning full-time. She is taking care of the houses of five customers and is looking into expanding her services, possibly by buying a power washer and carpet-cleaning machine.
Her children Jasmine, 9, and Andrew, 3, are settled in their new home; Jasmine went to The Salvation Army’s summer camp last summer and this winter won a “Terrific Kid” school award from the local Kiwanis Club. And Mobley is engaged. She and her fiancé attend their local Baptist church.
Mobley has adopted as her motto a Carl Jung quote Rogg shared with her: “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
Without the people behind The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope, Mobley said, “I wouldn’t be in the state of mind I’m in right now – very calm, trying to get back on board with my kids’ lives. I just thank God for them being there and being supportive.”
This is what success in the Pathway of Hope looks like.
Original article here.