Pathway of Hope has been changing lives and improving the future of families across West Michigan and Northern Indiana Division. Below are just a couple of recent stories from our clients:

Kelly's Story

“Never in my life had I had to struggle, hurt… go without.

This past year everyone told me this was all in God’s plan and He would make something good out of the tragedy. I was listening… but not really believing.

God has blessed us with so many people in our path to help me get back up and moving forward for my child.

Thank you for your help and generosity! I am so thankful for The Salvation Army Manistee.”

Kelly presented to us as a single mom who was struggling to pay her utility bills, go to school, raise her daughter and work all at the same time.  She also wished to get her child into a younger aged school program.  

During our work together, Kelly discovered an untapped passion for early childhood education. "Before I had Kaylee, I didn't really have much experience with children, so I wanted to learn more about child development in the best interest of my daughter.”  As of last month she began pursuing a degree in early childhood education and has now applied to be a teaching assistant!

Kelly speaks of gratitude and of giving back. "I'm extremely thankful for the opportunities that Pathway of Hope has given my family. Now that I'm studying childhood education, I'm happy to have the opportunity to encourage other parents to make a positive change too." 

"I love being part of this program (POH) that helps children and families rise above their problems in their lives. The work they are doing provides our families with a foundation for who they may become in the future. We want to fill our community with successful, kind, independent individuals, and now I can speak to how they can achieve this.”

Christy's Story

Just over a year ago, I had heard of Toys for Tots. I was terminated from my job of 17 years due to medical issues with my son and didn't know yet where I wanted my future to go. I knew I wanted to make something of myself but I didn't know how. I was ushered through the Toys for Tots line and at the end given a pamphlet. It was about a relatively new program about setting goals and having guidance on how to accomplish said goals. I knew I wanted to do better. To become someone, build my future and pay it forward.  Little did I know that this would become the largest blessing in my life?

I called to inquire. I met with my caseworker. She explained the program, explained the expectations. It all seemed so simple. Set a goal, be accountable for reaching your goal. I didn't know the vastness of the program. I didn't know what type of council I would receive. I just needed to know that there was someone out there that would listen to me and have my back. That's when I set my goal to go back to school.  We discussed my options, I did my research, and the direction it led me was Medical Education. This leads me to my second blessing.

Throughout the process I had supportive council from TSA staff, they eliminated obstacles, and, even though I ended up leaving an abusive relationship, I maintained a 4.0 GPA and achieved 100% attendance. I also received 100% satisfaction reports from my externship supervisors. And, I was nominated for an Academic Excellence Award and Scholarship. I still can hardly believe it but I refuse to be brought down anymore!

The program showed me I'm not trash to be thrown away. I regained my voice, my strength, and faith in myself to do what I needed for my son and myself.  I still have more goals to reach.  I still have obstacles, but I am here to tell you, I would not be where I am today if it weren't for the POH program.  I wouldn't have the resources to be successful. I am a different person. By different I mean stronger.  I am learning to define myself.  Not to allow others to define me.

My best support system has been The Salvation Army and The Pathway of Hope program.   I also do my very best to stay strong and understand that things are already getting better.  That I have the power to accomplish anything I set my mind to. And that I do not need to rely on the toxic relationships in my life from my past including personal, family and career, to give me worth or value.  

I’m very lucky to have stumbled across this program.  I would recommend it to anyone. Most people want something for nothing; an easy fix. They define insanity by beating a dead horse and not making the changes and taking the steps towards a better future.  In this program, you are held accountable.  But you are given every chance possible, with their support, to make these changes and reach for your goals. The rest is up to me. I'm not only thankful for my past, because without it I wouldn't be who I am today, but I am looking forward to my future.