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Feb23TueThe award highlights ministry units that demonstrate excellence in the provision of services. February 23, 2021
(Above) From left, Ranford Plummer, Priscilla Hibbert, Leya Caney and Natalie Nugent of the community support services team at the Edmonton Centre of Hope receive the best practice ministry unit award
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- Territorial News
The Edmonton Centre of Hope community support services team is the winner of the first Pathway of Hope (POH) Best Practice Ministry Unit Award. The award highlights ministry units that demonstrate excellence in the provision of services to POH participants. A special emphasis is placed on the integration of families into the holistic ministry of The Salvation Army.
The journey towards adding POH to the centre’s community support services began as a conversation with staff. Some felt they didn’t have adequate resources to help clients overcome their difficult living circumstances. They offered food assistance and other immediate help, but there was still a missing link. They asked themselves, “If The Salvation Army exists for transformation, what needs to change to make that happen?” The centre looked into hiring a case worker and identifying a case management model that would enable clients to transform their lives, if they had the desire to. That is when they heard about POH and the successful pilot that had been running in Toronto.
Last summer, the POH team in Edmonton organized a lunch-in-the-park initiative, where they handed out bagged lunches in various parks to connect with community members, offer support and grow an awareness of their new Salvation Army framework. The centre has also partnered with Edmonton’s food bank and has a case worker who connects with new clients to offer food and other emergency resources. Several connections have been made with other agencies and post-secondary schools as referral sources in Edmonton.
Since launching POH in January 2018, the team at Edmonton Centre of Hope has enrolled 70 people. Sixteen clients have successfully completed the program, but they are still supporting many others. While people who enter the POH program come from all walks of life, what unites them is a desire to have stability in hope for themselves and the people around them. “No one is the same person that they were when they walked through those doors for the first time,” says Christina Clapham, the POH co-ordinator for the Alberta and Northern Territories, British Columbia and Quebec divisions.
POH is a framework developed by The Salvation Army in the U.S.A. Central Territory that has been adapted for use in Canada and Bermuda. The program was piloted in the Greater Toronto Area in 2016 and expanded across the territory after its success. The Edmonton Centre of Hope community support services team became the first ministry unit outside of Ontario to launch POH.
The centre’s part-time case worker soon became full-time as demand for the program increased. Within nine months of launching, POH saw its first two graduations. Since then, the team has grown to three full-time case workers who provide all levels of service and programming to the community.