A New Beginning

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We wanted to highlight and congratulate the first-year class of the Female Lone Parent Breakthrough Program of Kelowna, British Columbia! Ten single-mothers, many of whom missed their own high school graduation years earlier, walked the graduation carpet at the Kelowna Salvation Army Corps location in early September.

Click here to read the full story.

The brand new Breakthrough program is a year-long mentorship curriculum and support system that counsels and teaches struggling single mothers. Along with strongly encouraged times of reflection, the classroom education covers topics such as communication, boundaries, dating, and conflict management. Perhaps more importantly, Christian principles are intertwined in the lessons and conversations with emphasis on self-worth.

The ultimate goal is to help change the hearts of participants; encouraging them to understand themselves better, to hone their strengths, work on their weaknesses and to develop self-esteem. Upon graduating, two of the mothers reached new employment goals while three participants were fulfilling their dreams of furthering their education.

We’re so happy to see this neat program succeed!

For more information on other Salvation Army programs, Click Here.

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Dignity Matters

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our neighbor to the north, The Salvation Army Canada, has just launched a campaign called The Dignity Project that’s generating some buzz over the border. The initiative is designed to educate the public about the realities of poverty and underscore the point that everyone deserves fundamental human dignity.

In pursuing this project, The Salvation Army Canada felt it important to ask the public, “How do average Canadians feel about the poor living among them today?” And while respondents ranked poverty as the third most critical issue facing their country, their feedback revealed a lot of people still hold misperceptions about the poor and the challenges they face.

Though the report and findings are tailored to Canada, this is important for Americans to reflect on too. You may not encounter poverty in your everyday life, but as many as 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty today. So ask yourself, have you ever thought, consciously or subconsciously, the following about the poor?

* If poor people really want to work, they can always find a job.
* A good work ethic is all you need to escape poverty.
* I think that if we gave poor people more assistance, they would just take advantage of it and do nothing.
* Poor people usually have lower moral values.
* People are poor because they are lazy.

If so, you should take a look at the full report here.

More information about The Dignity Project, including a blog and a video series, is available at http://dignity.salvationarmy.ca/.

The Salvation Army’s faith motivates its mission to serve and treat everyone with dignity and respect. To learn more about the work we do serving more than 30 million people in need every year in the United States, visit us at www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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Can Soccer Solve Homelessness?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Charles MacGregor, coach of the North Shore Salvation Army Shields, says soccer can help get the homeless off the streets. (Photo: Rob Newell, North Shore Outlook)

If you could put an end to homelessness, how would you do it? Would you believe there’s an international movement looking to soccer (or football, as it’s called abroad) as a solution?

The Homeless World Cup is an international soccer tournament that uses the sport as a catalyst to encourage homeless people to change their lives, as well as to change the attitudes of governments and the public to create better solutions to homelessness. Every year, teams of homeless individuals compete in local, regional, and national matches for the opportunity to represent their country in the Homeless World Cup. This year’s 2011 tournament will be held in Paris.

Mel Young, Founder & President, explains, “We simply use football as a way of getting homeless people to come together to begin to take responsibility for the next step in their lives. We have created a global football stage where we have simply changed the landscape around homeless people and then they change as a result. It is simple. It is magic.”

[North Shore Salvation Army Shields]
The North Shore Salvation Army Shields are based out of the John Braithwaite Community Centre in North Vancouver. Photo: Vancouver Street Soccer website

In Vancouver, Canada, Salvation Army employee Charles MacGregor took notice of the homeless soccer movement and established a Vancouver Street Soccer League Team called the North Shore Salvation Army Shields. The team recently won a tournament in December 2010.

In a recent interview, MacGregor described the experience to the North Shore Outlook, “It’s bonding. It’s team play. It’s getting the guys out of their rooms or off the street…For two hours we just focus on playing. I hope what we’re doing is providing two hours where there are no other worries.”

According to the Homeless World Cup website, “[the tournament] has triggered and supports grass-roots football programs in over 70 nations and involved 50,000 people.” The organization also reports that 70% of their players significantly change their lives as a result of their involvement .

So, what do you think? Could soccer be a viable way to help end homelessness? Learn more at www.homelessworldcup.org.

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