Salvation Army Programs Offer Help and Hope
October 2020 – September 2021
Pathway of Hope Stats (Bridgeport, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, Newport)
- Currently: 42 families, 173 individuals (58 adults, 115 children)
- 70% single-parent families; average of 2 children
- New enrollments: 19
- Graduates – this year: 11
- Graduates – overall: 56
“Maria,” a single mom with two children, ages 5 and 9, was enrolled in Pathway of Hope in April 2019 after being referred to us by the YWCA. Although she had no income, she’d been able to live in an apartment that her father rented for her, but when her father got behind in paying the rent, she was evicted. Having no place to go, she couch-surfed for a while, and when that was no longer possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she entered a shelter with her children.
Maria identified several goals when she met with our Pathway of Hope Case Manager in New Britain: employment, housing, mobility – a driver’s license, and adult education – a GED. Achieving these goals wasn’t easy, and required lots of effort on Maria’s part, but she was very determined.
Her first goal, employment, took 4 months, and many, many applications and interviews. Along the way, Maria worked with her case manager to identify ways she could improve her responses to interview questions. This made all the difference.
Her next goal, stable housing, took 8 months. Since Maria moved often, it was difficult for her to keep up with paperwork and change of address notifications with the local housing authority. Her case manager provided her with the support she needed, and she now has an affordable, safe three-bedroom apartment for her family.
In terms of her goal for mobility, the pandemic impacted Maria’s timeline for getting her driver’s license as offices were closed and then severely backlogged. In January 2021, Maria received her learner’s permit and is diligently preparing for her driver’s exam.
Maria is one test away from achieving her final goal - getting her GED. Each section of the GED process was a challenge for Maria, but her determination to never give up, despite so many setbacks, has been truly inspirational. It was Maria’s determination to do better for her children that inspired her to keep going when things got difficult.
In March 2021, Maria successfully completed Pathway of Hope. During her 3-month follow-up in June 2021, Maria reported that she and her family are now stabilized, and that she sees herself as more active and motivated to keep moving forward.
Anti Human Trafficking Stats (Greater Hartford, Windham County, New London County)
- 38 referrals
- 14 survivors currently enrolled
- 3 successful exits
- Over 350 individuals trained
- 3 survivors obtained safe and stable housing
We experienced a 41% increase in referrals, particularly for youth ages 17 – 22, and referrals continue to come in. This is attributed to the increased use of technology for school, social media, and extracurricular activities. As COVID-19 restrictions ease, red flags and exploitative situations are becoming more apparent. We also received referrals for the youngest survivors to date, a 14-year-old, and a 15-year-old.
“Sarah” came to The Bloom Initiative in 2018 looking for volunteer opportunities to help survivors. After disclosing her personal story, she expressed an interest in case management. At the age of 22, Sarah was trafficked after traveling to another country to meet her boyfriend she had been talking to for over a year. Unbeknownst to her, the “grooming” process had already begun. After narrowly escaping forced prostitution, Sarah was found by law enforcement and flew back to the United States.
After nearly two years of working with her Bloom Survivor Support Specialist, Sarah enrolled in community college to pursue her education in victim advocacy. During the summer of 2019, Sarah participated in a program that offers internship opportunities to explore career paths and gain skills to enter the workforce. Through this experience, she increased her self-confidence and enhanced her interviewing skills that she will use to enter her field of study upon graduation. Sarah started her first semester of college in January 2020.
Sarah also hopes to rent her own apartment and build financial stability. Facing domestic violence at home, Sarah left her primary residence and moved in with family members to avoid further danger and re-traumatization.
The trial for Sarah’s trafficker has been delayed multiple times over the years. With technology like Zoom, we are hopeful that she will not have to return to the country and testify in-person. The Survivor Support Specialist has connected Sarah with several attorneys that are knowledgeable about trafficking and its impact on Sarah’s well-being.
Sarah has received good grades each semester. She has been working on life skills development such as understanding healthy relationships, creating personal boundaries, and accessing community resources when in need. She’s also participated in nationally recognized survivor programs to develop personally and professionally. In June 2021, Sarah proudly and confidently graduated from The Bloom Initiative. She will continue to pursue her academic and professional endeavors to work in the human services field. Sarah knows that our door is always open, and we will support her as the pending trial moves forward.