Pathway of Hope aims to end cycle of poverty in York County families

Katherine Ranzenberger

The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware this week is introducing Pathway of Hope, a program intended to help break the cycle of poverty.

Volunteer Aubrey Brown of York City helped people load their food boxes into cars during the Salvation Army Christmas Cheer Distribution in York City on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. Salvation Army Director of Social Services David Pillette said the distribution benefits 1,800 families in the area. (Bill Kalina - The York Dispatch)

Pathway of Hope focuses on long-term goals of self-sufficiency for impoverished families, according to a news release from Salvation Army. The program is aimed at helping Pennsylvania families with children under the age of 18.

“It’s an intensive process,” said Maj. Dennis Camuti, the York-area coordinator. “The York corps is one of the first to implement it.”

Camuti said he hopes to enroll six families from the York County area during the first calendar year of the project. He said the goal is to help not only the parents of the family learn valuable life skills, but also the children in the family.

The program started in Kansas City and has had positive results over the last several years, according to Lt. Col. Stephen Banfield, the divisional leader of the Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.

“Pathway of Hope is based on extensive research and planning,” Banfield stated in the release. “We are certain it can play a major role in reversing record levels of poverty in Pennsylvania.”

The program will help teach life skills to families that wouldn’t otherwise have them, like balancing a check book and other financial literacy skills. Santander Bank has donated $50,000 toward “Making Money Count,” the financial literacy aspect of Pathway of Hope.

“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,” Jim Wujcik, regional director for business banking at Santander, stated in the news release.

“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,” he stated.

Central Pennsylvania families who qualify for Pathway of Hope can apply at The Salvation Army Corps Community Centers in York, Carlisle, Harrisburg, Lancaster and Reading. Selected families will participate in an intensive program lasting from six months to up to two years.

Life skills being taught include budgeting, saving and balancing checkbooks. Families can also work on getting a completed GED and finding a stable job with a steady income to help sustain the family.

“Pathway of Hope is not about cookie-cutter outcomes,” Mindy McCormick, Pathway of Hope regional coordinator for the Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, stated in the news release. “Results and success are specific to each individual family and will be realized in limited numbers. However, Pathway of Hope has the potential to represent sustainable change for families that have endured lifelong instability.”