This post is guest written by LaKeysha Fields, LMSW., the Regional Coordinator of Pathway of Hope in the Midland Division.
We’re putting ourselves out of business!
Well… sort of.
We’re breaking generational poverty by helping clients address the root causes of the barriers they face. We are no longer satisfied with giving them a fish, we are now inviting them right into the pond to learn how to fish for themselves (or for vegetarians…how to pick their own berries). And we’re doing it through Pathway of Hope.
The first thing you need to know about Pathway of Hope is that it’s not a program, it’s an approach. We’re working with clients from a different angle than the one we’re used to. You know the old one; a client comes in for utility assistance and we give them utility assistance then bid them farewell. They come in for food and we send them home with food. Admirable and necessary, but not as effective as we would want because we are very likely to see those same clients next month for more food, or next year for more utility assistance. Though we are by no means getting rid of those needed programs, Pathway of Hope is shifting our focus from monthly/yearly outputs to lasting outcomes for families. Our aim is to help the client in an intense case management model so that they no longer need our services.
This exciting approach also places The Army in the unique position of being able to assist the client holistically, addressing all manner of needs. Not only do we deal with socio-economic barriers, but we are concerned with the spiritual and psychological health of our participants. We offer spiritual counsel for those who desire it, and in the Pathway of Hope we measure…wait for it…HOPE! Yes, we actually have a scientific tool that measures our clients hope levels which we seek to raise through our diligent support. The ultimate outcome is reduced barriers and increased hope.
We’re still in the infant stages of the approach having recently completed an intense two day training. Twenty-six corps/sites within our Midland Division will embrace Pathway over the next five years, starting with our St. Louis metropolitan region. So be on the lookout for more information to come your way as we unpack our tools to lay out the Pathway of Hope.
We will continue to be here in the face of homelessness, disasters, substance abuse, hunger, and more, but this new approach is all about breaking the cycle of poverty. And if that means that we have less work to do in the future, then we are very, very happy with that.