VOL. 17, NO. 2 • SUMMER 2011
The Great Recession • Soul vocation
caring The holistic ministries of The Salvation Army
“The effects of the downturn are something that we have been responding to for the past several years, and are something we will continue to respond to as long as there is need. “—Commissioner William Roberts
Soul vocation by Stephen Smith
Building a company 20
by Amanda Waters
The Great Recession by Christin Davis
Dignity: In style and on budget by Martha Witt
Confessions of a thrift store expert by Nicole Poole
Plight of the female Veteran by Alma Bahman The Haven by Robert Brennan StarTing anew in ‘the last Frontier’ by Jenni Ragland
22 25 26
8 12 14 17 20
22 Finding aussies work
by Kirrilee Trist.....................................28 Developing youth assets by Cindy Foley ......................................31 Promoting from within by Donna Ames.....................................35 Ladder to corporate leadership by Laine Hendricks..................................38 Networking a transition by Sara Krall.........................................41
Looking for a Job The Great Recession officially ended in July 2009, however unemployment still affects much of society. In this issue of Caring, find out how The Salvation Army is getting involved in creating solutions for members of a struggling economy.
MY CORNER 2 • PERSPECTIVE 3 • IN THE NEWS 4 • AND FINALLY... 44 SUMMER 2011 • VOL. 17, NO. 2
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Do something Go for souls and go for the worst. BY That’s a line attributed to the Army’s founder, William ROBERT Booth. He didn’t define “worst.” I’m fairly certain it had DOCTER something to do with immorality, poverty, despair, negative
self-worth and depression. Later, he stated that the worst “possess the attraction of gold mines.” In other words, they have much unused value. I think we have a new “worst” among us: the long-term unemployed. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines this as a worker seeking employment who has been unemployed for six months or more. I am unable to understand why The Salvation Army in the United States has not made this primary issue of American society today an even greater concern. The Army’s policy in social work is based on Booth’s extremely important 1891 social work treatise In Darkest England and the Way Out. Booth uses the analogy of a cab horse that breaks down and collapses on the streets of London. He writes: “What, then, is the standard toward which we may venture to aim with some prospect of realization in our time? It is a very humble one, but if realized it would solve the worst problem of modern society. It is the standard of the London Cab Horse. “When in the streets of London a Cab Horse, weary or careless or stupid, trips and falls and lies stretched out in the midst of the traffic there is no question of debating how he came to stumble before we try to get him on his legs again. “If you put him on his feet without altering his condition, it would only be to give him another dose of agony. But first of all, you have to pick him up. His load is removed, the harness is cut and everything is done to help him up. The second is that every London Cab Horse has three things: a shelter for the night, food for the stomach and work allotted to it.” Booth’s statement in the “Cab Horse Charter” provides a metaphor for treatment of the unemployed. The BLS reports “an unprecedented rise in the number of persons with very long durations of unemployment during the recent labor market downturn. Nearly 11 percent of unemployed persons had been looking for work for about two years or more as reported in the fourth quarter of 2010.” Beginning this year, 2011, the Bureau modified the Current Population Survey to allow “respondents to report unemployment durations of up to five years.” Previously, the survey accepted unemployment durations only up to two years. Any person reporting longer than two years was simply identified in the two-year category. The Bureau’s April 2011 survey report indicates the mean unemployment duration by weeks. All age groups are hit hard, but the MY CORNER page 6
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Caring is published quarterly by The Salvation Army and seeks to: • • • • • • • • •
Reclaim ‘acts of mercy’ as imperatives to holiness. Bring the Army’s ministries of evangelistic and social outreach into one holistic ministry. Describe exemplary programs seeking to integrate the goals of the Army’s holistic ministries. Foster innovation and the development of creative approaches to ministry. Edify, enlighten, enrich and stimulate discussion among Salvationists involved in caring ministries. Provide a forum for examination of critical social issues within the Army. Report on important and relevant research in areas of holistic ministry. Review critical contributions of scholars and writers within relevant fields of ministry. Examine The Salvation Army as an organization in respect to its history, purpose, mission and future.
STAFF Robert Docter, Ph.D. Christin Davis Alma Bahman Karen Gleason Buffy Lincoln
Editor in Chief Managing Editor Assistant Editor Contributing Editor Associate Editor
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Betty Israel, Major Geoffrey Allan, Major Florence Townsend, Major Kevin Tomson-Hooper Allie Niles, Major
National Headquarters Central Territory Eastern Territory Southern Territory Western Territory
LAYOUT & DESIGN Kevin Dobruck Adriana Rivera
Art Director Graphic Designer
CIRCULATION & ADVERTISING Contact Caring for information USA WESTERN TERRITORIAL HEADQUARTERS Commissioner James Knaggs, Territorial Commander Colonel William Harfoot, Chief Secretary P.O. Box 22646 180 East Ocean Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90802 562/491-8723 • Fax 562/491-8791 E-mail: email@example.com Follow us: facebook.com/CaringMagazine Twitter @caringmagazine Unless otherwise indicated, all contents copyright ©2011 by New Frontier Publications, The Salvation Army, USA Western Territory, 180 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802. Please contact the publisher with reprint requests.
We will work Chances are you know at least one of the 13.7 million unemployed people in America. Of this number, 5.8 million (as of April) have been jobless for 27 weeks or more. An additional 8.6 million people are considered involuntary part-time workers, taking part-time work for economic reasons or because they cannot find a full-time job. And there are even more who are “marginally attached” to the labor force or have even given up looking for work. The numbers are telling, but this story directly impacts the people of America—each statistic represents a person, a family. What are they doing to survive without a workplace income? How is a laid off worker accessing health care for his or her family? How does joblessness differ by gender, age, race, education or occupation? It’s not hard to imagine the gripping effects a loss of income can inflict. With no ability to provide, it is difficult to exist in a capitalist society. We know the effects are social, too, as high unemployment leads to a rise in crime, divorce, homelessness, and mental and physical illness. The Journal of Health and Social Behavior says people who lose a job tend to have more health problems later in life. Lives and futures are at stake. In developing this issue, we’ve heard feelings of fear, desperation and hopelessness. As Newsweek recently put it, unemployment is like being “stuck in your own personal Detroit of the soul, with the grinding stress of enforced idleness.” Today’s economy may not be the Great Depression, the magazine said, but “it is certainly the Great Humbling.” Commissioner William Roberts, national commander of The Salvation Army in the U.S., made it clear in a recent interview that unemployment is a national issue that requires a much more expansive vision from The Salvation Army. “We have to be totally pro-life,” he said. “The term means that we care more than just for the unborn. We want quality of life for all people— from the cradle to the grave, and that includes the unemployed and underemployed.”
BY CHRISTIN DAVIS
Nationwide, donations to the Army fell by roughly 8 percent in 2010. Yet, The Salvation Army served 30 million people across the country during this time, including providing 82,346 job referrals. The Salvation Army’s mission statement on economic justice in the U.S. states: “All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, and to decent working conditions.” “In the Feeding the Need 2011 report, we saw that no place was insulated from the economic recession—it affected small towns, large cities and the whole country,” Roberts said. “Sometimes we think we’re different parts in the U.S., but we’re not—we’re all one Army and we can’t be out of step with needs. We can provide a framework and ideas at a national level, but the need is local and must be served and addressed in local ways.” Caring pursued examples of this local Salvation Army service throughout the country. In “Looking for a Job,” stories range from a Kroc Center that intentionally hires those in Army shelters and programs, a rehabilitation beneficiary who now works as an executive for a Fortune-500 company, a shelter resident who began a successful business while living in an Army facility, and a Family Store shopping strategy. It’s been over three years since the recession made “landfall.” In times of disaster, we roll out our canteens, emergency assistance and emotional care personnel. The window for response has not closed. As 9 percent of Americans (13.7 million) currently face a personal economic disaster, we must be there—ready to respond and prepared to help. A Forbes writer recently cautioned against betting all on a job: “The false comfort of finding work as the cure to all of life’s ailments is seductive.” Yet, one thing is for certain, to which 13.7 million Americans can attest: There is no comfort in being unemployed. Let’s be sure this Army goes to work for them. n Christin Davis is the editor of Caring and managing editor of New Frontier Publications.
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In the news
Compiled by Alma Bahman and Karen Gleason
Egypt added to list of worst religious freedom offenders The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2011 annual report adds Egypt to the short list of the world’s worst religious freedom violators. WORLD reports that since 2009, no new countries have been added and no one has held the office of ambassador for international religious freedom for two years. Speaking on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conceded: “This has not gotten the level of attention and concern that it should.”
billion people will be in the world by the end of the century, according to the U.N.’s Population
Reintegration Puzzle Conference Australia’s Reintegration Puzzle Conference in June is aimed at those who support reintroduction of released prisoners into the community. The event will “focus on programs and practices that are achieving positive outcomes for groups who are over-represented in the justice system, such as indigenous Australians, people with disabilities and people with mental health issues.” “Bearing in mind the indigenous component …and funding body interest in Aboriginal social programs…it might be useful for The Salvation Army to be strongly represented and promoted,” Grant Herring, manager of alcohol, other drugs and corrections programs in the Tasmania Division, told Australia Southern Territory’s e-Connect.
Washington, D.C. launches ‘Live near your work’ program Washington, D.C.’s Office of Planning recently launched a pilot program called “Live Near Your Work” that will match up to $6,000 in incentives offered by businesses to employees who move near work or use public transport. The new residence must be within two
+ or - ? PAGE 4 CARING SUMMER 2011
miles of the individual’s workplace, half a mile of a Metro station, or a quarter mile of a “highquality” bus corridor. The program has $200,000 to distribute in its initial phase. If successful, it could help reduce traffic and pollution, spur urban revitalization, and improve participants’ quality of life.
Paying more for stuff Inflation is a natural part of the economy and flowingdata.com took a look at the change in prices from March 2010 to March 2011 for most everything from food to housing, apparel to transportation with statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly data survey, the Consumer Price Index. Food, education, medical care and other miscellaneous services and products all saw an increase, with transportation and education increasing the most, 9.8 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Communication services and apparel saw a decrease.
Canada’s ‘Dignity Project’ In Canada today, approximately 3 million people—1 in 11—live in poverty.
percent is the overall increase in prices over the past year in the U.S.
were hired by McDonald’s in one day in April.
percent increase in ridership on Amtrack so far this year over last year’s 28.7 million riders.
Negative Where Standard and Poor’s dropped the U.S.’s credit in April. DOING THE MOST GOOD
Cheap food treats a symptom, not the cause Raj Patel, author of Value of Nothing, discussed soaring food prices and the worldwide protests it has caused with American Public Media. The poor in North Africa couldn’t afford items like bread and milk, and taking to the streets influenced then-president Ben Ali to lower prices. Patel said cheap food has been a policy choice for decades. “That’s why we spend far less on food at the checkout than pretty much any other industrial country—the Japanese, for example, spend more than twice as much of their household income to eat than we do.” But cheap food doesn’t solve the cause of hunger: If people don’t have money to buy food, no matter how cheap it is, they go hungry. Patel predicts more food rebellions, like North Africa’s, will occur in America if rising prices and unemployment rates continue.
The Salvation Army recognizes that poverty is a critical issue, and that everyone has a right to access basic necessities such as nutritious food, health care, education and economic opportunity. With the belief that human dignity is a fundamental right, The Salvation Army launched The Dignity Project and announced May as Dignity Month, seeking to engage Canadians about the reality of poverty in the 21st century.
take responsibility for their day-to-day needs.
The future of food
Experts from some of world’s biggest food companies, leading experts and nonprofits discussed trends in agriculture and consumer behavior that are shaping the future of food at a conference on sustainable farming, land management, organic food and food’s impact on ordinary people. The Prince of Wales, a lifelong environmentalist and organic farmer, Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, and Wendell Berry, winner of The National Humanities Medal, presented. Watch videos, read transcripts and follow up on the conference at washingtonpostlive. com.
In Australia, Why Warriors Pty Ltd offers an online course called “Introduction to Cross-Cultural Aware-ness.” The class consists of four modules— by author Timothy Trudgen—and includes “real world skills to help in your work with indigenous people” through an “exploration of the causes of the indigenous crisis…indigenous communities and the challenges they face,” while “providing methods for increasing effectiveness in your interactions with indigenous people.” Check it out at whywarriors.com. au/online-ws/index.php.
Regaining independence in New Zealand
Flooding in the Mississippi
While government support for local businesses ended at the end of May, The Salvation Army wants its post-earthquake recovery work in Christchurch, New Zealand, to be long term and sustainable, with a focus on helping people regain their independence. The Army will continue to serve individuals needing material while encouraging those who are able to
The Mississippi River is flooded more than it has been in the last 74 years, covering farmland and threatening river towns. More than 3,000 residential and business buildings in the path of the waters received evacuation notices in May. The Army Corps of Engineers is examining levees and reservoirs built since 1927’s flooding, but there is no one solution to save everyone.
Encouraging father involvement The president’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative is a partnership between the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, fathers, mothers, family-serving organizations and other leaders to show support for children in our communities. The effort encourages individuals, especially fathers, to be involved in the lives of their children, and to be positive role models and mentors for the children in their lives and neighborhoods. You can join: fatherhood.gov/initiative.
Google enters a new sector With Google for Nonprofits (google.com/nonprofits), approved orgs get access to tools like Google Grants, the targeted advertising that appears in a sidebar based on keywords and search terms. Other products feature powerful business applications tailored to the needs of (and sometimes discounted for) nonprofits.
Fast Food Nation examines how the fast food culture has changed America’s way of growing and processing food.
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from page 2
age grouping hit the hardest for both men and women relates to those 55 to 64 years of age. The current mean duration of unemployment for this age group is 51.9 weeks, which I consider one year (52 weeks) of unemployment. If the individual resides in a state with a 99-week unemployment allowance available he/she will lose the lifeline of unemployment compensation sometime during the current year. The age of the applicant in the 55 to 64 age group, unfortunately, places them in an even more difficult situation. Employers have many applicants to choose from—some with considerable experience. The duration of unemployment for this group, however, indicates a lack of success in finding a position. In that a person’s work contributes significantly to that person’s identity, the loss of identity becomes a major contributor to feelings of victimization, self-blame, a loss of self-esteem, isolation and depression. They must either rebuild their existing identity or build a new one. To do this, they need help. The rate of unemployment indicates the percentage of the labor force currently unemployed. In April the
national average was 9.0 percent. California at 12.0 percent and Nevada at 13.2 percent have the highest rates in the nation. Other Western states above the national average are Oregon, Arizona, Idaho and Colorado. I don’t have any easy answers, but I do know we must do something. The founder’s son, Bramwell, heard those words from his father and pursued a new mission aggressively. So must we. This will require consultant services and the initiation of new programs before the end of the year. We have experience in this field, both with Employment Plus and with SalWorks. We need support groups led by professionals in every major city. Maybe we should buy a few “match factories” and provide jobs. Social entrepreneurship is no stranger to the Army. Perhaps we should initiate ways to lift the burden from depressed shoulders. We are limited only by the bounds of our own creativity.
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Save 17% Select regularly priced monthly service plans Requires a new two-year Agreement.
Congratulations Salvation Army Employees your discount has increased to 17%. Take advantage of this offer and additional promotions when you shop online at The Salvation Army Private Store. Be sure to add “Save50” at checkout for additional savings when placing an order for a NEW line of service. Activation and shipping fees are waived as well, ONLY at your Private Online Store.
Newly Signed Contract!
www.sprint.com/salvationarmy May require up to a $36 activation fee/line, credit approval and deposit. Up to $200 early termination fee/line applies. Individual-Liable Discount: Available only to eligible employees of the company or organization participating in the discount program. May be subject to change according to the company’s agreement with Sprint. Available upon request on select plans & only for eligible lines. Discount applies to monthly service charges only. No discounts apply to secondary lines or add-ons $29.99 or below. Other Terms: Coverage not available everywhere. Nationwide Sprint and Nextel National Networks reach over 277 and 278 million people, respectively. Offers not available in all markets/retail locations or for all phones/networks. Pricing, offer terms, fees and features may vary for existing customers not eligible for upgrade. Other restrictions apply. See store or sprint.com for details. ©2011 Sprint. Sprint and the logo are trademarks of Sprint. Other marks are the property of their respective owners N105375 MV123457
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Soul Vocation PAGE 8 CARING SUMMER 2011
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An excerpt from Soul Custody: Choosing to care for the one and only you
Not many of us can say in BY our early 20s, “I know why God Stephen made me.” This is a knowledge Smith that most of us come to realize
only after years of trying different kinds of work. Taking a job can be like trying on clothes to get the right fit. That one seems too big. This one is too small. Try a job for a while and you may realize, no, that’s not me. It’s not what I want to do. For many of us, it’s a live, try and learn process that must be allowed in our vocational journeys. Most of us are not given work epiphanies through which we know in a split second what we should be doing. Each step of the journey informs the next step. To borrow a theological term, it’s called “progressive revelation.” Truth grows within us and is validated and confirmed as we move to the next step or place—hopefully to a place that is better lit. Each job informs us that we are getting closer. The next one might just be the fit we’ve been looking for in our vocational quests. Paying attention to what you learn in each workplace about yourself is as important as fulfilling the certain role that your job demands of you. Wayne began his career as a sheet-metal worker in a factory. He remained in this job for 15 years, working his way up to a shift
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manager. Through a series of events, including a divorce and a move to start his life over, Wayne became a Christian and started attending the church I pastored. He also realized that he wanted something more out of life than cutting sheet metal. He told me that his secret ambition in life was to become a hairstylist. Wayne’s transformational journey resulted in changing his vocation from cutting metal to cutting hair. Now he is one of the most sought-after hairstylists in the city. His vocational journey required him to take the jokes that were hurled at him from his team at the sheet-metal factory, enroll in a program through which he could learn how to become a stylist, and muster up the courage to begin his new career, build his reputation, and eventually open his own business. Each step shed light on the next for Wayne. What is important to remember in discerning your vocational calling is that there is no cookie-cutter approach for a soul to go into one way and come out the same. Each of us is different, fearfully and wonderfully made, and the calling for our vocational pursuits is also varied. Exploring the fabric of your own soul with a trusted friend, spiritual guide, or mentor can be very helpful in discerning the right choice for you. Doing the deep soul work now is an important part of the journey. Live your questions and pick up unturned stones and look under them for the truth. Macrina Wiederkehr, a Catholic writer, has a beautiful prayer that is funny yet hauntingly true when seeking such knowledge about ourselves. She prays, “O God, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is!” It may be hard for some of you to pray this prayer well. But accepting the truth of this prayer about yourself is key to living the life you were meant to live and doing what you were created to do. Discerning the truth about ourselves and our callings, combined with our passion, interests and giftedness, is a coming-together process called convergence. A life in which convergence happens is a life that is stewarded well and lived with great fulfillment, leaving a legacy to be remembered for a long, long time. Convergence Vocational convergence occurs when our formal and informal education, on-the-job training, valuable experience, sacred giftedness, skills and opportunities come together, giving us sight of where we are to head in life. It is not up to us to make or force this coming
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together. It is God who shapes our time, opens the doors for opportunities and orchestrates events over time.
When we are sick and tired of our work, rest and more rest may not really be the answer we need. We may need to find the work that we are called to, created for and that all of our life has been but preparation for. Convergence begins to happen in life through decades of working here and there, seeing a door opening (perhaps someone giving us a break—an opportunity that seems too good to be true), and having a sense of divine appointment to something so good that God must be at the root of it all. It usually does not happen quickly. There is much to learn that only years and time can teach us. The soul may have to weather many vocational storms to grow wise and understand this coming together. It is my opinion—one that isn’t substantiated by empirical proof—that convergence does not happen in our 20s when we are starting out in our careers. It does not happen in our 30s, when energy levels are high, motivation is sharp, and drive is steadfast. It may not happen in our 40s, when we enter the “midlife crisis.” I see it mostly happening in our 50s and beyond. In our 50s we have finally earned the right to lift our heads up and say some things that we really are sure of, things that are true, tried and tested. In our 50s we are becoming the wise ones: We are still able to relate to a younger generation behind us, but we see the end coming into sight. Our days might be spent taking care of aging parents, and we may find ourselves walking away from the freshly dug graves of friends who died much too soon. Yet we still have a resolve to do something—something we sense we were made to do. Passion has been tested in the past, but now it is time for the release of mature passion, not just youthful
energy and vigor. Bridled energy is surer, and strength is not diminished by effort. When a door of opportunity opens, light is shed onto the path, making the next path more visible, less risky. All of the experiences of the past, all of the jobs, all of the bosses that we did not like and the few we did, all of the mentors who helped us—these begin to cheer for us. Or do we just now finally and really hear them and let ourselves move forward? We cannot go back to the younger days. We don’t want to. We cannot live the afternoon of our lives as we did the morning. Deep down our souls say, “This is why I was made. I was made for this.” Jeff showed up in my office dressed in his salesman clothes: starched shirt with red tie, navy slacks, and polished leather shoes. But beneath that neat façade was a mess! Jeff felt like his life had become a joke. His story might shed light for some of us. At his father’s urging, Jeff went to a college he really didn’t want to attend. He became what his father wanted him to become—a second-generation business owner. He lived this life for a number of years before a gnawing sense of depression and futility rose up within him. Through our times of talking, Jeff confessed that he really wanted to be a landscaper. His love of dirt, plants, and nature were deep truths—soul truths. When I asked Jeff what he would do if money were no object, he said, “I would want to work in nature, making places of beauty for people to enjoy.” Jeff told me that as a boy, he spent all of his free time planting a flower and vegetable garden for his parents and making money by mowing neighbor’s yards. Yet this childhood passion had been replaced by a demanding father’s voice, which seemed to replace Jeff’s own voice expressing what he really liked— what he really wanted to do. Now, 20 years into his profession, Jeff was willing to rethink everything and go for his dream: to run a landscape service. It would mean giving up a lifestyle he and his wife had enjoyed. But Jeff realized that no lifestyle was worth the discontent he felt inside, and his wife agreed. Jeff found what he must do.
and major cheerleaders—true soul champions for me to help me better understand myself. Hard experiences in my work offered me valuable lessons I needed to learn about perseverance and endurance. God helps each of us to reframe each experience we have in our work and see the necessary lessons we needed to learn. Oftentimes failing well can teach us more than succeeding badly. We are living in a challenging work environment. You may not get to work in the job you most want to work in. Your real work might be finding the right job and sometimes a job to simply pay the bills. There is no shame in this. All work is God-work if it is done for God. Author David Whyte tells us the antidote to exhaustion is not rest, but wholeheartedness. When we are sick and tired of our work, rest and more rest may not really be the answer we need. We may need to find the work that we are called to, created for and that all of our life has been but preparation for. Reminiscing on the cold, snowy, winter afternoon US Airways Flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River in 2009, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger said, “All my life came down to this one moment.” He was describing the moment when two flocks of birds flew into the direct flight path of the jet, causing complete engine failure. The captain had to crash-land the plane into the freezing Hudson River. Incredibly, no lives were lost, and the captain is now regarded as a hero. When we can say, “All my life has come down to this ... for you ... for this cause ... for this project,” we are living for a greater purpose than self, a greater calling than ego, and a greater sense of fulfillment than money can pay us. A man who had served as a missionary in Africa for 12 years revealed his soul’s new confession when he said, “Steve, I no longer want to worship my work or myself through my work. I want my work to be worship.” When our true vocation is offered to God, we are giving God great glory. May we all see the convergence that God is arranging to give us our true vocation, and let our souls flourish.
With wholeheartedness When I look back on my vocational journey, I can now see a progressive revelation that was at work within me to help me have a true sense of calling in my life. In some jobs, a few people became significant
n Stephen W. Smith is a spiritual director and co-founder of The Potter’s Inn, which is devoted to the work of spiritual formation and the care of the soul. Read more in Soul Custody or at pottersinn.com.
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Family pledges $25,000 to shelter they lived in during hard times
Some days, Stephanie Tillman of Olathe, Kansas, thinks she must be dreaming. Not because her life is perfect— it’s not—but she has come so far, achieved so much more than she’d ever expected, with plenty of future to come. It was a long and difficult journey to get to this place, but one that she cherishes. She will tell you, without hesitation, that without the journey her life today would not be possible. Tillman and her husband, Shomari, point to 2002 as the year their lives changed. Both in their mid-20s at the time, they
BY Amanda Waters
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reached rock bottom after years of drug and alcohol addiction. Unemployable and desperate, the couple resorted to selling almost everything they owned to get money to buy drugs. The final straw came when they lost their home. With no place to live and two young children to care for, they turned to The Salvation Army for help. Initially thinking they would only stay one week, the family lived in The Salvation Army Family Lodge in Olathe for four months. During that time, Stephanie Tillman said The Salvation Army helped turn their lives around. “They never judged, they only showed us love,” she said. “It was this unconditional love that gave us the strength to conquer our addictions, commit to our family and place God at the center of our lives. And that has made all the difference in the world.” It was during their time at the shelter that the Tillmans said they realized they needed to let go of control and leave it in God’s hands. “Now I realize that being homeless was the best thing that ever happened to us. It gave us an opportunity to start over and become exactly who we wanted to be,” Stephanie Tillman said. “You can’t rebuild your life until you are truly broken.” Learning as you go After leaving the shelter, the Tillmans began the process of putting their lives back together. Both found jobs, a place to live and started attending The Salvation Army church on Sundays. Stephanie Tillman worked as a waitress and then a property manager of an apartment complex. Shomari Tillman worked at Foot Locker and later as an information technology consultant. One day, a friend asked Stephanie Tillman to design a poster for a small nonprofit. Although she had no experience in design work and no college degree, she dove into the project, learning as she went. The final product was well received, and she said, gave her the courage to do more design work. After several years of freelance design work on the side, Stephanie Tillman left her full-time job in 2007 and opened her own graphic design business, Crossover Graphics. The company, recently renamed ikros.com, provides website and print design services for small businesses, ministries, musicians and filmmakers. Shomari Tillman left his full-time job to become head of technology, operations and audio for the company while Stephanie Tillman serves as CEO. They have five employees and expect to expand in the
near future. In the fall of 2010, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for her company’s new headquarters—a 3,500 square-foot office in a suburban strip mall—Stephanie Tillman pledged $25,000 to help The Salvation Army build a new homeless shelter in Olathe. The Tillmans’ name will hang on a plaque in room number four in the new facility—the same room in which they lived in 2002— to serve as an inspiration to future residents. “We want to give them hope, to know that even in the worst of times, something good can come out of it,” Shomari Tillman said. A rising company Today ikros.com is a million-dollar company that continued to grow even during the economic recession, over 500 percent last year alone. The latest venture for the company is ikrosPRO, a storytelling branding agency, that brings companies back to the founder’s original vision while incorporating the CEO’s personality into the company’s branding, marketing and communications. This way ikrosPRO re-energizes team members, helps them connect better with their customers and brings passion back to the company. Stephanie Tillman and ikros have also won several awards, including KC Business’s 2011 Rising Star award and Influential Woman award, and KC Small Business’s 2011 25 Under 25 award. As her company grows, Stephanie Tillman continues to tell her story hoping it will help others. She has done numerous interviews with media outlets across the country like NBC Today Show , NBC Nightly News, WOR Radio-New York, KC Small Business Magazine and KC Business Magazine. She and her family remain members of The Salvation Army church in Olathe. Stephanie Tillman said she has learned much over the past nine years but there is still more to come. She finds strength in what she calls her “life Bible verse,” Romans 5:3-5: But we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. n Amanda Waters is the divisional director of community relations for The Salvation Army’s Kansas and Western Missouri Division in the USA Central Territory. Photos by Chris Vleisides
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A statistical portrait The world’s economy fiercely contracted in the late-2000s, resulting in what has become known as the Great Recession. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the United States experienced this recession from December 2007 to July 2009. The effects, however, continue today as many people still try to recover from economic hardship. The Washington Post wrote an article, “What Went
By CHRISTIN DAVIS
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Wrong,” in late 2008 that blamed Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt of opposing any regulation of financial instruments known as derivatives. Ultimately, the Post said, it was the collapse of a specific kind of derivative, the mortgage backed security, which triggered the economic crisis. What began as a debacle in sub-prime loan losses in 2007 led to an exposure of reckless lending practices of financial institutions.
“…the country’s biggest economic crisis since the second World War.” – The New York Times
The national unemployment rate from 1990-2011 with data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As share and housing prices declined, many large investment and commercial banks suffered huge losses, some even faced bankruptcy. With decreased demand, international trade suffered and commodity prices slumped. For many Americans, the most distressing effect of this recession is the high rate of unemployment. According
to the latest forecast from the Congressional Budget Office, the national unemployment rate—down from 10.6 percent in January 2010—will hover at 9 percent through 2011 and above 8 percent through 2012. As of April 2011, unemployment stands at 9 percent as 13.7 million people remained without work. A representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told the U.K.’s The Telegraph late last year: “The Great Recession has left behind a waste land of unemployment.”
Coffee farmers in Hoang’s network: (L-R) Van, Von, Dinh, and Tam
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989,000 discouraged workers are not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. Long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
Shares of the unemployed as of April 2011
Involuntary part-time workers (for economic reasons or because they cannot find full-time job) Marginally attached to labor force (Had looked for work sometime in prior 12 months but not in the 4 weeks preceding survey)
Adult Women 7.9 % Adult Men 8.8 %
African American 16.1 %
Caucasian 8.0 % Asian 6.4 %
Teenagers 24.9 %
Hispanic 11.8 %
of Americans are currently % unemployed = 13.7 million people
Soon after, The Wall Street Journal reported, “So far this year, U.S. businesses have added an average of 96,000 workers a month—not enough to absorb new entrants to the labor force from a growing population, much less to help make up for 7.6 million private-sector jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007.” It also noted the high number (9.5 million at the time and 8.4 million now) of part-time employees who would prefer to work fulltime.
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Reuters reported a glimpse of improvement this spring: Extended benefits and emergency unemployment compensation programs were down for the 26th time in 27 weeks in midMarch, which accounts for a 26 percent improvement over the same time last year. The statistics here show an overall portrait of unemployment–– an economic crisis for millions of people in the United States. n Christin Davis is the editor of Caring and managing editor of New Frontier Publications.
Dignity: In style and on budget By Martha Witt
I have a reverent respect for The Salvation Army and the services it provides. I consider myself a supporter and although my offerings at Christmas are a mere drop in the bucket, I feel Iâ€™m helping the less fortunate. But never did I consider that someday I might be the one in need. In the summer of 2007, after 20 years of raising other peopleâ€™s children in addition to our own two, my husband and I decided to end our role as foster parents and start making our dream of owning a ranch for boys in foster care come true. It was really more than just a dream. We had planned this for years and finally felt we hired quality personnel and secured sufficient financial backing to begin the lengthy Martha Witt
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Gap cardigan 99¢ Levis jeans 99¢ Mossimo flats $2 Belt $1
Eci cotton top $2 CB Design cardigan 99¢ Pilcro and Letterpress jeans $3
Juicy Couture bag $4
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process of getting a facility like that up and working. Unfortunately, in March 2008, our feelings went from great anticipation to unbelievable disappointment the afternoon that we learned our investment money was gone. Eventually, the ripple of loss would widen further than we could keep up with. I won’t divulge exactly what happened to start our downfall into financial destitution, but sadly, that person—a member of our family—caused great financial harm to others as well. After recovering from the initial shock, my husband—with the tenacity of a pit bull’s jaw—refused to accept our obvious plight and considered each bit of additional bad news as a challenge to be conquered. But month by month, with one bad report on the heels of the previous, the sad reality of our future became clearer: We were losing everything. We tried hard to tighten our grip on not only financial investments but also personal ones that ended up being too leaded to hold on to anyway. The prolonged struggle was taking its toll on us, mentally and physically, and I remember feeling that the only hours of relief were between midnight and dawn. By summer of 2008 we went from owning several homes and properties to living in our camp trailer, using a garden hose to shower and buying necessities like groceries and gas by selling our belongings online. Not since I was a child have I experienced having only coins in my pocket book. Living in the trailer, with no job and plenty of free time, I put my full effort into finishing my college degree and, in the fall of 2009, found part-time work as a substitute teacher. I was somewhat relieved to be working, but the stress of trying to survive two years worth of difficult circumstances resulted in my gaining so much weight that by the end of that school year I had only one pair of jeans I could squeeze into. My plan was to lose the weight over the summer and regain my wardrobe. But, by the end of July, with the elastic in my gym shorts still pinching, I had lost no weight and began to stress about that, too. What was I going to wear to work come
September? I didn’t have to look The Limited jeans 99¢ at our bank Ann Taylor blouse $2 account to La Coste flats $2 know there Scarf $2 was no money for new clothes and buying on credit cards was out of the question. It was disheartening, to say the least, that my only option was to shop at thrift stores. I had been to our local Salvation Army thrift store and noticed that they ran a different sale every day. I picked up a sale calendar and posted it on my refrigerator with the idea to schedule my shopping days to save the most money: “50 Percent Off Entire Store;” “$.99 Clothes” and “Pick Your Sale.” It bothered my husband that I had resorted to buying used clothes and shoes until I pointed out that, at the end of the workday, new shoes would be no less used than the gently worn ones I bought at The Salvation Army. After the first time something is worn, it’s used. I have to admit that I smirk a little when I am complimented on an outfit I’m wearing. When a couple of friends admired the designer purse they knew I couldn’t afford, I just smiled and said, “Thanks, it was a gift.” That’s how I feel about getting an entire wardrobe for less than $60. It was truly a gift. The Salvation Army came through for someone in need in an unusual way, and that someone was me. n Martha Witt is a high school substitute teacher with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social and behavioral science. Witt lives in Marysville, Calif., with her husband. Photos by Martha Witt The clothes and shoes pictured were purchased at The Salvation Army Family Thrift Store by Martha Witt and put together in outfits inspired by an issue of InStyle.
BY Kathy Lovin
Diamonds in the rough
Every day budget-conscious shoppers and treasure hunters scour Salvation Army thrift stores for fabulous finds. They’re snapping up clothing and accessories with designer labels, special vintage items, as well as furniture and decorative pieces for their homes. Last year, the Western Territory’s Youth Department provided a forum to showcase the great things they’ve bought in our stores. Called SA Thrift Store Gold, the site is hosted on Tumblr and filled with photos of these fabulous finds, or “gold” as we like to call them. There are photos of things like ceramic figurines, tweedy blazers, musical instruments, mid-century modern furniture, vintage magazines, and so much more. Have a look at the feed on SAThriftStoreGold.tumblr.com and remember to post your next purchase so we can help celebrate your shopping triumph. Every item you donate to or purchase in our Salvation Army Family Stores helps fund our 22 no-fee residential drug and alcohol programs here in the Western United States. n Kathy Lovin is the public affairs and communications manager at the USA Western Territorial Headquarters. DOING THE MOST GOOD
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Confessions of a thrift store expert Tips, tricks and benefits of secondhand shopping I’ve been shopping at thrift stores since my childhood. It began with my mother who—though always well dressed, stylish and generous to a fault—struggled to make ends meet. Because she was raised during the Great Depression, she found ways to maintain her lifestyle and support charitable pursuits, even if money itself was treated like a precious spice, reserved for special occasions. Some of my favorite memories took place in thrift stores. Mom praised me for finding the bargains that, to the uninitiated, were simply someone else’s used clothing or household goods. But to us, these things were veritable goldmines, waiting to be cleaned, scrubbed, sanded, oiled, painted, bleached or starched and given new life in our little family. We never felt like charity cases because we were supporting charities ourselves. With all of this early conditioning, paying retail
BY Nicole Poole
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price has never sat well with me. No matter how lovely something may be, markups are so extreme that the prices almost never truly reflect the item’s worth. Of course, it’s more fun to shop secondhand when you have options. I acknowledge that it’s hard to silence the ubiquitous advertising messages; they all seem to say “you’ll be happy only if you have this,” whatever “this” may be. But it’s not true. Retailers are professionals and have spent a lot of money figuring out exactly how to get us to buy their stuff. When the recession hit, I was unemployed and desperate for a creative outlet. I began a blog, Thrift Store Confidential, to share some of the knowledge I gained over the past four decades. I never really believed that people would be interested. To my surprise, readership increased rapidly, so I figured there were a lot of people out there who were beginning to think outside the box. I don’t like that so many are suffering, but the upside of it is that people are getting
savvy about secondhand shopping and people in need benefit from it. I tell people to begin by taking a bag of items to donate. Just walk in the door, proudly drop off your goods and browse around a little. Sure, some of the stuff can be ugly, out-of-date and off-putting but that’s the same for any store, thrift or not. To start, find a white cotton button-down shirt in your size. Take it home and soak it in hot water, add a little chlorine bleach and color-safe bleach like Biz or Clorox 2, hang it to dry and give it a little love from your iron. For the price of a latte, you now have a great basic piece that will serve you in all seasons. Salvation Army stores are among my favorites. The prices are fair, the stores are clean, the employees are pleasant and the atmosphere maintains an almost giddy feeling of conspiracy. I’ve found basic items like jeans and T-shirts, shoes and handbags and I’ve also found stunning designer items, sometimes never worn, that I don proudly. Someone took the time to donate it, so of course I’ll wear it. When people compliment me on a piece I’m wearing my mother cringes because I almost always shout out the price. My dad once told me “any fool can spend money.” I believe it takes creativity, ingenuity and bravery to find the things you want at a price you can afford. I’ll give you one last trick that can help you ease thrift store shopping into your routine: When I look
in store windows or catalogues, well, sometimes I drool. Then I usually feel it’s too far out of my price range so I pout. When this happens, I’ll simply say out loud what the model is wearing and that helps me approximate current trends into my own sense of style. Now that I look at it like that, it’s not so hard. The pout begins to lift. I go to my closet to see what I might have, then go to The Salvation Army and see how many of the remaining pieces I can walk away with for less than $20. Men’s flannel shirts can be taken in for a song (by a grateful seamstress) to look like they were made for you; knit shirts can be given new life soaked in a detergent. Lumpy down vests can be hand washed and fluffed to dizzying heights, and used boots can be shined, resoled and given new laces. Your clothes will have more character than anything you’d find in department stores. For men and women both, I guarantee you can do this with any look that strikes your fancy. You’ll look great, save a bundle, help the planet (hey, it’s recycling), help your community and engage your creativity in difficult times. All it takes is a willingness to put your prejudices aside and walk in the door of a thrift store. Whether you shop or donate, they’ll be ever so happy to see you. n Nicole Poole is a professional actress, composer and writer based in New York City. Read more about her secondhand finds at thriftstoreconfidential.com. Photos courtesy of Nicole Poole
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Plight of the female veteran Catching up with a growing population’s unemployment problem
BY Alma Bahman
More often than not, when you hear the word “veteran” you don’t think about a woman. Though women have been serving since the Civil War, it wasn’t until the 1980 Census that women were asked if they served in the military; 1.2 million said yes.
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Since then, the number of female veterans has increased significantly. In a 2009 study, the California Research Bureau reported that “by 2000, the women veteran population had increased to 1.7 million; it continues to grow while the male veteran population gets smaller.” Naomi House is a transitional living environment for female veterans run by The Salvation Army Haven program on the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration campus. Programs like this help women veterans who are homeless and unemployed get
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independent housing, apply for benefits, get involved in groups and therapy treatments and find a job. But with a 15-person maximum in Naomi House, tackling the problems of unemployment and homelessness among a growing population of female veterans without enough resources is a struggle. The Haven has 200 beds for men and 20 beds for women, according to Satin White, a case manager at Naomi House. Naomi House is one wing on the top of a three-story building. The remainder of the building is for the men. Victoria Curtin, Naomi House’s program manager, said women’s programs don’t get as much funding not only because there are more male veterans but also because “men have more opportunity.” But the lack of programs isn’t only due to insufficient funding. “People don’t realize there are homeless female veterans,” Curtin said. In some cases, the women themselves don’t realize they’re veterans. “If you talk to a homeless woman who’s a veteran, they say no,” White said. “But if you ask if they served in the military, they say yes.” Even though a female veteran is twice as likely to be homeless or unemployed, these women are resourceful—partly because of the woman’s natural role as a nurturer and partly because of military training—and they know how to fly under the radar, Curtin said. Plus, asking for help is a sign of weakness, especially in the military. “[The military gives] you a duffel bag, experience, an education and you have to survive,” Develon Jackson, a Naomi House resident, said. You learn to be independent and grow up fast, she said. If you don’t, there are consequences.
Jackson is a bright, animated and friendly woman, a mother who dearly loves her family and is working hard to achieve her dreams. She joined the Navy in 1980 when she was 18 years old and served for six years as a jet mechanic. After leaving the Navy, she held jobs at the Postal Service and Anheuser Busch but couldn’t secure them because of undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. Plus, she was dealing with the stresses of a husband, three kids and a new home; she turned to drugs and alcohol. In 1990, Jackson suffered a mental breakdown and woke up on skid row in downtown Los Angeles, where she lived for seven years before she was able to ask for help and begin recovery. Jackson said she wishes Naomi House could triple in size, because there are many more female veterans who are suffering like she did and current programs are barely scratching the surface of the problem. “It’s like putting a Band-Aid on cancer,” she said. Marketability In general, Curtin said employers might not understand the things women veterans learn in the military and
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The Salvation Army’s Haven in west Los Angeles
therefore are not as marketable for job placement. “Military experience doesn’t transfer well,” Curtin said. It’s not because these women are uneducated but rather the education and experience they have is disadvantageous for today’s job market. White said many women are trained in an occupation like diesel mechanics and “it’s not so easy to find a job in that field if you are a woman if you have no other training [other than military training].” Some veterans were single moms or housewives before enlisting and many jobs are not accepting military training, even if it’s in the communications field, White said. Andromaque Etienne enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2003 when she was 19 and served for five years. She was a logistical specialist for the motor pool. Etienne was unemployed for the first of the three years since she’s been out, but not for lack of trying. She said she applied for everything but was either under- or overqualified. There are civilian equivalents to military jobs but the pay scale is not equal, she said. “It makes or breaks a veteran.” The U.S. Army lists “stock control clerk, parts clerk or storekeeper with civilian factories, repair shops, department stores and government warehouses and stockrooms” as related civilian jobs to Etienne’s position. Etienne currently works as a security guard but said it doesn’t cover all her expenses. Even though Etienne has seven years of work experience from both the Army and afterward, she said she is still earning minimum wage.
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Reintegration Lack of work experience outside the military, unequal pay, societal challenges and physical health are all barriers to a female veteran’s reintegration into the workforce. And while stories about veterans like Etienne, Jackson and Rosemary Grubbs are inspiring, they emphasize that programs like Naomi House are necessary to help veterans efficiently reintegrate into civilian life. Grubbs joined the Navy when she was 19 for three years, working for ship servicement assisting the merchant marines, submarines and other ships refuel or repack. She said much of what went on in the military, like sexism, unfairness and double standards, causes women to become displaced in society. She suffers from bipolar disorder and military sexual trauma, but in her year living at Naomi House, she has been able to get help from different agencies, including the Department of Rehabilitation. “This has given me time to sort out issues I need to address,” Grubbs said. “It affords time I wouldn’t have were I under a bridge…time to work on myself,” she said. These female veterans are working toward better employability. Grubbs is working as a teacher’s assistant and is attending L.A. Sierra University to complete her credentials. Etienne is attending classes at Everest College for a degree in criminal justice. Jackson is attending University of Phoenix for a degree in human services with an emphasis on psychology. Her dream is to work with female veterans and their children. “All you need is a little soap, water and love,” Jackson said. n Alma Bahman is the assistant editor for Caring. Photos by Alma Bahman
By Robert Brennan The Salvation Army’s Haven program, located on the Veterans Affairs property in West Los Angeles, opened in 1994 for the express purpose of providing the men and women who have served this country in uniform a place to start over—veterans like Edgar Colorado. Before The Haven, Colorado was a local Southern California kid out of high school and with a dream of joining the U.S. Army. He served four years, both at home and abroad, as an Army scout. The use of field computers in his job spiked an interest that he carried through his transition to civilian life, becoming an information technology expert for a major tech company in Southern California. Colorado seemed to have it all: a wife and three kids, a good job with a big company and the responsibility of supervising a department of 50 people. But
Colorado’s life wasn’t what it seemed. He started drinking in the Army and the habit followed him relentlessly afterward. It followed him to work, it followed him home and soon it was plain that it would not take a second position to anything else in Colorado’s life. His children were afraid of him. His wife asked him to leave the house. For six months, Colorado lived out of his car, hiding his alcoholism from his employer. Then his company downsized and reorganized Colorado out of a job. Colorado learned about The Haven program from a fellow veteran at the unemployment office. Out of options, he decided to give it a try in February 2010. It wasn’t a magical opening of golden gates and instant success for Colorado. He didn’t want to be there, but considering the alternative was life on the street, he stayed with the program. Slowly but surely, as he attended the mandatory counseling sessions and met regularly with his caseworker,
Colorado put himself on the path of sobriety. He availed himself to The Haven’s Return to Work (RTW) program where he and his caseworker discussed his obstacles to employment—namely, alcoholism—and developed a plan to overcome them. Colorado utilized the RTW program and its services such as practice interviews, resume preparation and job searches. One year after walking through the doors at The Haven, Colorado is sober, happy and just began full-time work as an IT technician for the federal government. To Colorado’s children, this is not the man they used to be afraid of and that’s the way he wants it to stay. “The Salvation Army shielded me from accepting failure,” he said.
n Robert Brennan is the director of media relations for the USA Western Territory’s Southern California Division. Photo by Alec Middleton
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Starting anew in ‘The Last Frontier’
Tex Bessey at McKinnell House
Families seek better economic opportunities in Alaska, but encounter hardship While the “lower 48” (what Alaskans call the contiguous 48 states) was suffering through its most recent economic challenges, Alaska seemed to be spared from the worst of it. As the nation’s unemployment rate skyrocketed in 2008, Alaska’s stayed about two percentage points lower than the national average through 2010. When word spread of job opportunities, a number of families headed north to pursue a better life. But even with a lower unemployment rate, Alaska’s economic climate was still unstable. On its website, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development warns job seekers against job-market myths. “Alaska ranks 20th among the states in per capita income…[One] study ranks Kodiak, Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage among the survey’s 10 most expensive cities to live in,” the site says. “All in all, recent
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economic growth has been slow.” The challenges and expense of living in Alaska brought a number of families who were trying to start over to the doors of The Salvation Army McKinnell House, a shelter for homeless two-parent families or single parenting fathers. A new home Tex Bessey, his wife Barbara and their two children, who made the move from Colorado, stayed at McKinnell House just over two years ago. Bessey had an addiction to crystal meth, which nearly destroyed him and cost him his family. His criminal record made it difficult to find employment. Determined to make a clean break from his former life and build a future for his family, he decided to set out for Alaska in 2008. He backpacked his way to Anchorage and worked odd jobs along the way to earn enough money for
own apartment. When the horse ranch shut down, Bessey called his case manager at McKinnell House, who was still working with the family. In Colorado, Bessey had worked as a counselor with troubled kids, so he applied for a job at McKinnell House. “I never imagined I’d be working in the very shelter that was my home such a short time ago, but I love my job!” Bessey said. “Every day I’m excited to go to work, knowing that I’m helping other families who just need to know someone is there to help them get back on their feet.”
Outside McKinnell House in Anchorage, Alaska. Below: one of the bedrooms inside.
transportation. Bessey spent the next 18 months working on fishing boats to save enough money to bring his family to Anchorage. When they arrived, he was staying in a hotel. With his savings one of the first things they did was buy a car. Finally reunited, the family began looking for a place to call home. Yet, the excitement was short-lived when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shut down the construction site where Bessey worked. Looking for help His family had no place to go so Bessey went looking for a local Salvation Army Thrift Store, hoping someone there could help him. Instead he found The Salvation Army McKinnell House, the only shelter for two-parent families and dads with children in Anchorage. “What a great relief it was, knowing my family wouldn’t be homeless in a new, unfamiliar place,” he said. Working with a case manager, the Besseys enrolled the kids in school and began looking for work. Tex Bessey was hired at a horse ranch, while Barbara Bessey worked part-time and attended school to complete nurse’s aide training. After four months, the Besseys moved into their
Ebb and flow An estimated 25 percent of families at McKinnell House over the past year were like the Besseys— transplants from other states struggling to start a new life in Anchorage but ending up homeless. Now, as the nation’s economy starts to recover, the number has decreased to around 10 percent. Economist Neal Fried predicted the past three months of recovery would benefit Alaskan job seekers. In Alaska Economic Trends, produced by the state’s department of labor, he wrote that the recovery should also lower the influx of new job seekers from other parts of the U.S. and maybe even reverse that flow. “As the employment picture improves in the lower 48, fewer job seekers will venture to Alaska to look for work,” Fried wrote. “More opportunities in the lower 48 might also attract more Alaskan job seekers south.”
n Jenni Ragland is the public relations director in the Alaska Division of the USA Western Territory. Photos by Jenni Ragland and Bill Chambers
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Finding Aussies work Employment Plus provides practical assistance
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“…the majority [of people searching for jobs] are, beyond all gainsaying, eager for work. Most of them now do more exhausting work in seeking for employment than the regular toilers…and do it, too, under the darkness of hope deferred, which maketh the heart sick.”—William Booth In Baulkham Hills, a wealthy suburb of Sydney, Australia, peaceful streets, manicured lawns and stately homes mask the strain imposed on families by job losses during the peak of the financial crisis. Bill* was a CEO of a large accountancy firm. When the firm began to struggle, it was taken over by another company and many jobs were lost. “From the outside, you’d think I was one of the lucky ones,” Bill said. “I’d had a good income, I had a house and a family and thought I’d be able to get another job, even if it was more junior than the one I’d been doing. “I was wrong,” he said. “No one wanted a former CEO to work in any role in their company—it was too threatening. And as that dawned on me during the first few months [of unemployment], everything fell apart.” Bill said he was drinking a lot, and the stresses in his marriage rose to the surface. His family couldn’t make the house payments. “We’d been living well, the years I was working, and I just couldn’t believe I was being left with nothing,” he said. “It was a horrendous time. I ended up seriously depressed, living in a friend’s garage with no opportunities and in a real mess.”
By Kirrilee Trist
Valuable Over the past few years, as the world reeled from the effects of the financial crisis, the misery of the unemployed has been frontpage news. In William Booth’s day, the people he observed searched desperately for dangerous jobs in factories, as matchstick makers or weavers, as domestic servants or street sellers; jobs which have long since been replaced by newer, more refined services. The pain of unemployment still remains the same and the corrosive effect of fighting for opportunities when opportunities are scarce can be terrible for the people affected. In Australia, The Salvation Army Employment Plus provides practical assistance to the unemployed, and connects jobseekers with resources and emotional and spiritual support during times they need it most. The program has placed roughly 535,000 people in jobs since 1998, more than 41,000 people per year. We know that everyone’s experience of unemployment will be different, but over and over again we see that it is deeply challenging in a way that goes beyond financial struggles. People need to eat and
provide for their families, of course, but many people define themselves by what they do and their sense of self-worth can be damaged by knock-backs and feelings of failure. That’s the same, whether someone is right on the poverty line or living an
affluent lifestyle. Employment Plus helps these people through the period in which they’re most vulnerable. Many people go through unemployment at some point, and it’s often not a reflection of the person, or their abilities or performance. The jobs that were lost in the financial crisis were the result of forces far beyond an individual’s control. We want people to know they are valuable no matter what they do, no matter what job they have or don’t have at the moment. We were all made by God; we all have a value and purpose outside of the workplace. If a job is what they need though, we’re here to help. Helping people to re-enter the workforce takes many forms. New career Bill came to The Salvation Army Employment Plus during his dark time. The staff knew that he was not exaggerating the difficulties of job searching in his position, but re-stated their determination to support him in any way they could. “I came into Employment Plus full of despair, and it took a long time for that to lift, frankly,” he said. “But in that time I thought about other careers I might have undertaken when I was young, had I not chosen accounting. I realized I’d always liked being around kitchens, and thought that if I could work in a kitchen for a while, doing anything, I might be able to get back on my feet.” Employment Plus staff worked with all the local restaurants they could find. It was tough finding someone to employ a kitchenhand with no experience who was too old DOING THE MOST GOOD
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for an apprentice’s wage. Eventually, two agreed to interview Bill, and he took a job in the one he liked most. “I’ve been there 18 months now,” Bill said. “It’s a quieter life than I used to live, but I’ve got my health sorted out, and I see a bit more of my kids. The job’s made a big difference, and I’m studying for a new career in my spare time. Employment Plus was the turning point.” Dedicated to work A world away, far into the dry “red center” of northern Australia, Patricia* lives with her family of seven in the tiny town of Woorabinda. It’s an Aboriginal community of around 900 people, two-thirds of whom are under 25, where unemployment is at 89 percent. The Salvation Army Employment Plus came to Woorabinda at the invitation of the local elders, to try to create futures for the children growing up there. “A lot of people, especially women, in this town, have no role models when it comes to working,” Patricia said. “I heard about The Salvation Army Employment Plus, and decided I wanted to change my life. I wanted PAGE 30 CARING SUMMER 2011
a better life for my children.” Employment Plus negotiated with mining companies that worked within a few hundred miles of the township. When the mining companies agreed to interview and help train people from Woorabinda, Employment Plus organized courses and buses to train and transport interested local people. Patricia was one of the first to sign up for the course in 2007. She endured 12-hour shifts and intensive learning for 16 weeks, and then graduated “with a huge smile on my face, and my kids watching,” she said. Patricia secured a traineeship with Anglo-Coal in 2007. Not only does she still work there, she has won several awards for her hard work. “People ask me why I do this,” Patricia said. “I’m doing this for my kids, and for all the mothers out there. I want them to see that they can change their lives.”
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Work has a powerful impact on individual’s lives, families and whole communities. It’s important to most people to be productive in some way. By helping secure opportunities for work, especially under very challenging circumstances, Employment Plus is helping to care for the whole person. n Kirrilee Trist is the National Communications Manager for Employment Plus. Photos by Jim Lounsbury *Name changed to protect privacy.
By Cindy Foley
Developing youth assets
The Salvation Army enjoys a rich history of providing quality youth programming around the world in a variety of settings that range from camps to urban dropin centers and treatment facilities to corps-based recreation programs. In nearly every city where the Army serves you will find some ministry expression that is focused on meeting the needs of young people. In the United States, the four territories have joined together to take the youth ministry to a new level. They have begun the Youth Asset Development Initiative, the process of incorporating asset development into our existing youth programs and developing
people make to help them become caring, responsible adults. The Search Institute compiled data from the leading research scientists around the world to develop a framework that outlines the elements of the human experience that have longterm, positive consequences for young people. These elements include family dynamics, support from community adults, school effectiveness, peer influence, values development, and social skills. These have all been identified as contributors to healthy development. The framework of Developmental Assets® looks at the whole person and combines
S a l v a t ion A rmy raises p rogr a m s t a nda r ds of Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers program standards for Kroc Centers and other recreation programs. The Army is working with the Search Institute in Minneapolis to develop the strategy and process of this project, one of the most widely used approaches to positive youth development in the United States. What is a developmental asset? The Developmental Assets® are 40 commonsense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young
multiple elements to create a comprehensive vision of what young people need to thrive. In addition to roots in the scientific research on adolescent development, the assets also include three other types of applied research: • Positive youth development, which highlights core processes and dynamics in human development that are foundational for growing up healthy; • Prevention, which focuses on protective factors that inhibit
high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, violence, sexual intercourse, and dropping out of school; and • Resiliency, which identifies factors that increase young people’s ability to rebound in the face of adversity, from poverty to drug-abusing parents and dangerous neighborhoods.
How is The Salvation Army using this information? The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers are currently involved in a threephase project that will provide training in the asset framework, support and guidance in the integration of asset development into program curriculum and the measurement of assets in the young people who participate in the Kroc Center programs. Phase one will lay the groundwork for Kroc Centers to adopt the framework of the Developmental Assets® as a strategic way of thinking about positive youth development by tailoring policies, programs and activities to promote the assets and measuring how youth are experiencing assets through the Kroc Center programs. This phase will include
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Renderings of Kroc Centers under construction in the U.S. Top to bottom: Augusta, Ga., Phoenix, Ariz., Honolulu,Hawaii Opposite: The pool in Quincy, Ill.
administration of initial surveys assessing youth assets, and will provide a report on the findings from a national, territorial and local perspective. The outcomes surveyed in Phase One measure the likelihood that a young person will: • Become engaged in violence; • Experience success in school; • Have a hopeful purpose; • Experience positive emotions; • Experience engagement in citizenship or civic activity. Phase two will involve the addition of the Search Institute’s study called Sparks and Spiritual Development—which examines what the Developmental Assets® do for congregations—to the training and measurement. There will also be a greater focus on selected Developmental Assets® of special interest to the Kroc Centers, such as the social competencies assets and more elaborate process evaluation strategies. Phase three will involve further training and technical assistance to enable Kroc Center staff involved in the first two phases to become peer mentors to new Kroc Centers and other
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community centers to help acculturate them to the asset-building approach and measurement tools. The results of phase one of the Youth Asset Development Initiative will be available in December 2011 and will be used for program evaluation, curriculum development and reporting to the public. Kroc Center program standards Another national focus is on the development of program standards that can be used in a Kroc Center and, eventually, in other recreational community centers. These standards are based on the structure of the Army’s National Social Service Standards but utilize information and guidelines from national experts and local administrators from the variety of specialty programs. The program standards will provide guidelines,
best practice, and program evaluation tools that will enable our community centers to support a high standard of safety, supervision and program content. This tool will also allow Salvation Army administration to evaluate programs on both a territorial and divisional level. The program standards will provide guidelines in the following areas: • Organization, Governance and Administration • Community • Personnel • Program • Congregational Life and Pastoral Care • Business • Facility and Equipment • Planning and Evaluation • Safety and Risk Management • Specialized Program Activities
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A rendering of the Kroc Center in Biloxi, Miss.
Current Kroc Center developments Location Eastern Territory Ashland, Ohio Dayton, Ohio Philadelphia, Penn. Boston, Mass. Guayama, Puerto Rico Camden, N.J. Staten Island, N.Y.
Date of opening April 2009 May 2010 October 2010 February 2011 Scheduled for 2012 Scheduled for 2013 Future Site
Central Territory Omaha, Neb. Grand Rapids, Mich. Green Bay, Wisc. Quincy, Ill. Chicago, Ill. St. Joseph County, Ind.
November 2009 November 2010 Scheduled for 2011 Scheduled for 2011 Scheduled for 2012 Scheduled for 2012
Southern Territory Atlanta, Ga. Kerrville, Texas Memphis, Tenn. Augusta, Ga. Greenville, S.C. Biloxi, Miss. Norfolk, Va.
October 2008 October 2010 Scheduled for 2012 Scheduled for June 2011 Scheduled for June 2011 Scheduled for July 2011 Scheduled for 2012
Western Territory San Diego, Calif. San Francisco, Calif. Coeur dâ€™Alene, Idaho Salem, Ore. Honolulu, Hawaii Phoenix, Ariz. Suisun City, Calif.
June 2002 June 2008 April 2009 October 2009 Scheduled for January 2012 Scheduled for April 2012 Scheduled for January 2012
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The process of developing these standards is underway, expected to be completed and ready for site testing in 2012-2013. Where do we go from here? The 12 Kroc Centers that are open in the U.S. are already serving over five million people per year. These facilities have a significant impact on local communities, yet there is still so much more that we can learn to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these programs as the next 15 centers finalize fundraising and construction. The Salvation Army is a major provider of recreation services in the United States and the addition of the Youth Asset Development Initiative and the Kroc Center Program standards will allow us to continue and improve our long tradition of impacting the lives of people through recreation and community center programs. We want to utilize the organizational experience we are gaining in these programs to raise the standard of service, program curriculum, partnerships and evaluation processes for all of our recreation and community center facilities. As the needs of people continue to change, the Army will adapt its approach to share the love of God with those who are in need. Only God can see the enormity of what is being accomplished in his name through the dedicated officers, employees and volunteers who serve every day in the gyms, pools, libraries and classrooms of our community centers. n Major Cindy Foley is the Kroc Center and Community Center consultant for the USA Western Territory and the director of campus services at the College for Officer Training.
Salem Kroc Center hires f r o m A r m y ’s rehabilitation programs, shelter residents By Donna Ames
The Army has a good track record of hiring from within, finding some of the best employees in successful graduates from the programs it serves. With local companies continuing to lay off employees, even those who had been long-time supporters of the Army’s work found themselves in need of a job as the economy contracted. By 2009 the Salem community eagerly anticipated the opening of a new Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. With statewide unemployment figures at over 10 percent, it wasn’t just the state-of-theart facility that was creating interest, but the promise of over 100 new partand full-time job opportunities. That interest was especially strong within the population already being served by the Army: family shelter residents, social service clients and corps members.
Building a staff The jobs initially listed required advanced college degrees, specialized certification and years of focused experience. Professionals who embraced both the vision of Joan Kroc
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and the greater mission of The Salvation Army filled those supervisory positions and began the process of building the staff. These leaders were encouraged to interview applicants who came from Army programs and to consider their potential. Many positions, even part-time positions, required specific education, certification, experience and physical abilities. The extended hours of the Kroc Center requires availability that can be a challenge for employees who rely on a public bus system that only runs five days a week. And then there were the background checks. Because of the child-focused nature of the center, every potential employee has to pass the most stringent of requirements. But there was also support. Salvation Army family service staff encouraged clients to apply, helping them with resumes and even facilitating ways for them to volunteer so potential supervisors could see their abilities. Envoy Dan Reichman, shelter chaplain, was a tireless advocate helping connect job seekers with potential employers. “If we tell people there is hope and we do not work with them fully, then we have made a false promise,” Reichman said. “I cannot tell people to work hard and have faith if I am not willing to do the same.”
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Investing in potential One of the early hires was Eric Flath. In March of 2009, Flath, his wife and two young sons found themselves homeless, exhausted of every resource. They ended up at the Army family shelter in Salem. With experience in food service, Flath was a natural for the kitchen staff. Flath was open about his past issues but food service coordinator Chris Feskins looked to his potential and upheld a nurturing, Christ-centered environment where all the staff were encouraged to grow in their faith and professional skills. When Flath relapsed, Feskins had to let him go but stayed in contact. He was willing to rehire Flath when he took the steps to turn his life around for good. “I have a new purpose in life and a new sense of self worth,” Flath said. “My work is much more than just a job; it is an opportunity to give back and to be a part of the team that makes the Kroc Center a welcoming place for all.” He works with a smile and is proud to show off his latest culinary creation or the state-of-the-art kitchen to visitors and just as willing to share his testimony. He and his family live in an apartment now. Together, the four of them now call the Kroc Corps their church home.
Toma Drahosh was another of the first hires when the Kroc Center opened. A single mom with two girls, she also found herself at the end of her resources, jobless, homeless and living at the Army shelter. Drahosh got a job as a cabana attendant, helping guests with lockers and cabanas and keeping the area clean. It’s a job she embraces with enthusiasm and energy. “I feel good about coming in every day. I look forward to it,” she said. “It makes me feel good about myself.” Drahosh and her family now have their own home and her oldest daughter is also working at the Kroc Center while attending local community college. “Thank you William Booth, thank you everybody,” Drahosh said while sharing her story at a recent donor luncheon. “You helped me provide for my kids in a very dark time and move on from there.”
When the different parts of our Salvation Army ministries work together, it changes lives. Family services, Kroc Center and corps ministries— together—help move people along the path of needing help to helping others. Employees— Salvationist or not—can buy into the vision of ministry, not just to clients and guests but to other employees as well. A Kroc Center is not just a community center that happens to be run by The Salvation Army, but an integral part of our core mission. n Major Donna Ames is the Salem Kroc Center administrator and with her husband, Major Jerry Ames, the corps officer of the Salem Corps in Oregon. Photos by Donna Ames and Jeni Niquette
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One man’s journey from beneficiary to executive By Laine Hendricks
After graduating the six-month program at The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Fresno, Calif., Scott Harkless enrolled in community college. Now 17 years sober, he works as a corporate executive for a Fortune 500 company in Southern California. He still attends Salvation Army corps worship services on Sunday. This trajectory is unexpected given his turbulent past. When Harkless was a boy, his father left the family, leaving his mother and brother working long hours and Harkless home alone. “It forced me to grow up very, very quickly,” Harkless said. “At 9 years old, you shouldn’t be thinking about…who am I? How do I fit in the world? Does anybody care? Where are we going?” His mother remarried a highway patrolman, who suffered permanent injuries in a car accident six months later. Believing a man’s worth is determined by his ability to provide for his family, Harkless’s stepfather reeled into bitter depression. Harkless had no outlet: His mother working, brother now in college, no father figure to turn to and no spiritual framework to fall back on. He had no support, no sense of purpose. He had only one thing under his control: his body. At age 13, Harkless used sex to provide instant gratification. When he was 14, alcohol provided a sense of community with friends. Soon that community introduced marijuana and then curiosity escalated. At age 15, Harkless tried acid; then PCP; then cocaine; then crack. Finally, Harkless was hooked on methamphetamine which provided an intensity he liked. By age 16, he was on his own. For the next five years, Harkless traveled down a twisted path of addiction. He bounced around Northern California, living as a transient, often staying high for four days then crashing and
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Ladder to corporate leadership
“There’s no formula for conversion. All God cares about is that you come to him with a heart that is yearning and desperate for him and he’ll take care of the rest.”—SCOTT HARKLESS DOING THE MOST GOOD
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sleeping for 24 hours. A couple of times he awoke to a termination notice because he slept through his work shift the day before. Harkless said he would think to himself, “I want to quit,” but continuous cravings and personal pride got in the way of seeking real help.
of what he wanted to do, he’d probably be all right. That’s when he found The Salvation Army’s ARC. “My first day was June 15, 1994,” Harkless recalled, very matter-of-factly. The second week into the program, suffering from nightmares and the physical aftermath of the detoxification The painful truth process, his rehab changed in an instant. Harkless said he would During a service, when the chaplain called Occasionally, Harkless would visit his family, until one day his stepfather, who the beneficiaries to Christ, Harkless said never complained about the drug habit, think to himself, “I want he felt a powerful force overtake his asked him to stop. He was emaciated, body, causing him to stand up and walk with long, unruly blond hair and barely down the aisle to the front of the room. to quit,” but continuous He was frightened and crying in a heap weighed 125 lbs. His stepfather said whenever Harkless left after a visit, “your on the floor before the chaplain. At mother is in tears.” that moment, Harkless knew he needed cravings and personal Devastated, he returned to Northern Christ in his life. California and found himself sitting on a “There’s no formula for conversion,” pride got in the way of bridge that stretched over the American Harkless said. “All God cares about is River. The realization that his life only that you come to him with a heart that brought pain to others nearly drove him is yearning and desperate for him and seeking help. to end his life. Weighing his options, he’ll take care of the rest. I didn’t know he realized that each high brought him anything about Jesus Christ and I had closer to death. After years on the street, no spiritual training. He met me where I he knew he needed to reach out for help. was, cleansed me and relieved me of my Flush with fear, Harkless called his burdens. When I walked away from that mother and cried for help. With strict altar, I felt brand new.” guidelines he returned home. He was only With the help of his counselors, allowed to stay for a few weeks, during mentors and a newfound faith, Harkless which he had to attend an Alcoholics said he cut ties from his old lifestyle and Anonymous (AA) meeting every night began focusing on making good decisions. and find a rehabilitation program. Harkless enrolled in community college After his fifth meeting, a kind woman and earned scholarships to attend Asbury approached Harkless and, seeing his frustration, encouraged College in Kentucky. There he met and married his wife, him. But his lust for alcohol had peaked and with no money Kristen. He later attended the University of California, Davis in his wallet, Harkless decided to steal a bottle of vodka. School of Law and passed the bar exam. Standing in the liquor aisle of the nearest store, Harkless He and his wife have been married for 11 years and have shoved a bottle down his pants. When he looked over his three children: Elijah, Evangeline and Josiah. Harkless admits shoulder, he saw the woman from the AA meeting, glaring at that without The Salvation Army, he’d likely be dead today. him and shaking her head. Ashamed, he put the bottle back He now credits his faith, family, network of sober friends on the shelf and left immediately. and mentors, and his life experience for helping him survive “Every decision that I had ever made was wrong,” Harkless tumultuous times and stay clear of the temptations that once said about that night. He knew that if he was ever going governed his life. to make a permanent change, he would have to ignore his instincts. n Laine Hendricks is the public relations director in the Golden State Division of the USA Western Territory. Starting anew Harkless sought the most challenging rehabilitation Photos courtesy of Scott Harkless program he could find, figuring that if it required the opposite
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Networking a transition
Domestic violence survivors find solace By Sara Krall
When The Salvation Army opened Hickman House in 1988, it was the first transitional housing program model dedicated to supporting domestic violence survivors in Washington state. Hickman House, in a private location near Seattle, is an apartment-based program for women with children. Semi-confidential in nature, it strives to establish a safe environment for clients to gather resources to become economically independent and build a network of social support. Each family is provided a fully furnished apartment unit, in which they can stay for up to 24 months. During that time, they are offered supportive advocacy services on weekdays, and a staff member resides on premises for emergencies during evenings and weekends. Participants pay 30 percent of their income as “program fees” in exchange for the accommodations and services. This payment helps clients segue into eventually paying for their own accommodations after Hickman House.
Financial challenges Jane* came to Hickman House in July 2003. Her husband physically, verbally and emotionally abused her for 12 years. An African native, Jane didn’t speak English and her husband wouldn’t let her go to classes. He threatened and assaulted her, forcing her to work while he kept the money she earned. Today, Jane is happy and stable, living with her three children in a townhouse. In addition to finding an advocate who spoke her native language, and finding counseling and support groups, Hickman House applied for a Section 8 voucher through the Seattle Housing Authority and helped Jane find her own place. When she bought a car, the program helped pay for driving lessons. Jane also goes to English language classes and continues to participate in Hickman House’s follow-up program. The kind of financial abuse Jane endured is often part of a survivor’s experience and seen in
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many forms such as the abuser garnishing wages, House, former residents are eligible for 12 months purposely jeopardizing career or academic efforts, of follow-up services, to increase the family’s or destroying the survivor’s credit history by likelihood of continued success. accumulating credit card debt or debt to landlords. Part of these services help clients return to These financial challenges, coupled with the the workforce with help creating and updating current economic recession, require that advocates resumes, finding hiring companies by phone and be more creative in their housing advocacy efforts. online, mock interviews, filling out applications Many of the Hickman House clients rely on the and learning how to use sites like HotJobs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program Monster and Craigslist. Hickman House also offer as a means of income. With limited Section 8 referrals to professional employment agencies like housing available and recent cash assistance WorkSource, Pioneer and Stepworks that provide cutbacks from Washington’s department of social additional opportunities for the unemployed. and health Hickman House services, clients partnered with In the last six months, 77 percent of clients also face a bleak Project Compass, exiting the Hickman House program have moved a team from job market and limited the Executive into safe, permanent housing. opportunities Leadership for low-income Program at Seattle housing. University, in 2010. Based on the client’s needs Recently, three families from Hickman House and desires for employment, the six-member team were accepted to a new Permanent Housing aimed to provide survivors of domestic violence Program in Seattle, Brettler Place at Sandpoint. with job-readiness. Operated by Solid Ground, a local homelessness Project Compass visited 10 Hickman House prevention program, it is a new development of clients twice a week to build computer skills, write townhouses and apartments supported by the resumes and cover letters and go over interview Section 8 Housing Authority. procedures. Many domestic violence survivors In the last six months, 77 percent of clients have little to no work history, so Project Compass exiting the Hickman House program have moved also provided career assessment to determine into safe, permanent housing. a client’s interests and possible careers. Clients who graduated Project Compass’s program were Adult programming awarded laptops. As a result of the project, one A full-time women’s advocate provides case client started her own business, another was hired management and supportive counseling for each for a full-time job and two have earned associate’s client and her family. The goal is to eliminate degrees. barriers to living independently in permanent Clients have found jobs in factories, warehouses, housing. Typical counseling includes enrolling offices, restaurants. They have recorded music, clients in school and back-to-work training gone to school for acupuncture, written grant schemes, teaching financial literacy and budgeting, proposals, created artwork for the city of Seattle, increasing computer skills, and helping clients and become non-profit advocates. apply to public housing and other low income Project Compass continues to work with housing schemes. Hickman House informally, visiting once a month Clients can also participate in weekly support as volunteers. groups that focus on a range of topics from domestic violence education to self-esteem building Positive feedback and help with parenting. After leaving Hickman Every day, the staff and volunteers at Hickman
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House seek new ways to provide innovative and effective services to clients like art groups for moms, parenting classes, homework clubs for teenagers and field trips. Hickman House also holds an annual picnic where women are encouraged to celebrate their own cultures and that of others. Researching community resources and investigating opportunities builds relationships with the community and supporters: a nonprofit organization called Beauty Empower gives makeovers to Hickman House moms; the YMCA and Stroller Strides promote health and well-being for families. But, the true measure of success of the Hickman House is the positive feedback from participants. “I have developed much more confidence and feel valued as a person,” Gina* said. “I was so isolated when I was living with my husband. Now I
have friendships and can communicate my feelings much better. “Being at Hickman House has really helped me economically. I also feel that I have become a better parent and have received new parenting ideas, which makes me feel good. Being in safe housing has made a big difference for my son and myself. My son is not nearly as scared now as when we first came to the program. “I feel much more aware about domestic violence and its affects that I think I could help someone else out in the future,” she said. n Sara Krall is the program manager for The Salvation Army’s Hickman House in Washington. *Name changed to protect privacy.
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As the economy churns, The Salvation Army remains firm Being unemployed is stressful. By Unemployment increases susceptibility William to malnutrition, illness and loss of selfRoberts esteem, which can lead to depression.
Even those who tend to be optimistic find it difficult to look on the bright side of things when they lack means to an income. Most Americans have been adversely affected by the economy for some time now, and the job crisis doesn’t look like it is going to get any better. According to the latest forecast from the Congressional Budget Office, the national unemployment rate will be above 9 percent through 2011 and 8 percent through 2012. The Salvation Army is experiencing a greater need across the country. This was reported earlier this year in the “Feeding the Need 2011” survey, in which a majority of Salvation Army food service programs in both rural and metropolitan areas such as Detroit, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco and Denver, reported increases in requests for food assistance as more people turn to social service agencies. Programs including food banks, food pantries, street ministries and homeless shelters run by the Army reported that donations remained flat or even decreased during the past 12 months. Nationwide, Salvation Army food programs have seen an increase in new clients, ranging from middle class families to the working poor, as well as younger generations seeking work, according to the report. As a result, these programs have been forced to stretch donations even further as overall funding to the Army fell 8.4 percent in 2009. The effects of the downturn are something that we have been responding to for the past several years, and are something we will continue to respond to as long as there is need. We are acquainted with economic downturns. You may know that Commissioner Nancy and I recently
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returned from a nearly three-year term of service in the western part of Kenya. It seemed as though economic downturn was a way of life there, almost a permanent condition. An unemployment rate of 40 percent, over half the population living at or below the poverty line, millions living on the equivalent of one dollar a day or less—that is life in Kenya. I suppose living conditions are relative and subject to perspective: a Kenyan coming to this country might imagine that life could not get any better. Our days in that beautiful country in East Africa have helped us to at once be appreciative of those who are faithful to God and what is good there, while at the same time grateful for what we have in our beautiful homeland. Upon our return, a question was posed to us: “How has the United States changed while you were away?” I replied, “A better question is, how have we changed since we have been away?” But whether there or here, Africa or America, The Salvation Army preaches and practices a message of hope. In the best of times, or in “times that try men’s souls,” one can be hopeful, because of the faithfulness of the God of hope. Words written to hopeless exiles hundreds of years ago may have meaning today: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jer@ 29:11-12). So service is given and ministry provided in the name of Christ, whom we believe and have found to be the hope of the world. n Commissioner William Roberts is The Salvation Army’s National Commander in the United States. Download the “Feeding the Need 2011” report at: salvationarmyusa.org/ usn/web/salvationarmy_feeding_the_need.pdf.
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Published on May 2, 2011
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