Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Peace River’s Salvation Army branch has added a new program to its list of services to help individuals living in poverty or spiritual and situational despair.
Added in late fall 2022, Pathways of Hope’s mission is to help people take action to break the cycle of crisis and vulnerability.
Salvation Army’s Sandra Laforest says although the initial focus of the program was those in poverty, it has been expanded to assist people who feel stuck in their current lifestyle, regardless of what that issue is.
“It’s all about helping them become the best they can be and to help restore their hope and faith,” says Laforest about why the program is so important.
“We’ve partnered with organizations, businesses, and individuals in the community so we can help people reach whatever their goals are. We help set short-term and long-term goals to help people achieve their aspiration in education, housing, jobs, finances, better family connections, or whatever else they want help with.”
The program focuses on identifying the root cause issues of why people are having difficulties in their every day lives. The purpose is to provide targeted services to people to help individuals identify what they can do to help them overcome their situation.
“We take a holistic approach and add in a piece of spiritual growth as well,” she says.
“Clearly if that’s an aspect the person is not comfortable with, we will work with them to find alternatives.”
Pathways of Hope helps participants create short- and long-term goals they can achieve. The program was designed specifically for Salvation Army and can be used to help individuals struggling in various capacities.
Laforest explains that the Peace River branch’s Captain (an upline that helps introduce Salvation Army programs to different branches) introduced Pathways of Hope to Laforest and her lead Margaret Davie.
“We started talking a while back about how we’d like to be more active and able to help people in our community,” says Laforest.
“We felt this program would fit well in our community and the needs our community members have.”
Laforest, Davie and their Pathway of Hope Spiritual Worker, Paul Hebert, took the course at the end of September to be able to offer the community this program.
Interested individuals, who need help formulating a plan to get out of their current doldrum, will set a meeting with caseworker Laforest to discuss what the person’s concerns and goals are. They will then work through a series of protocols to determine achievable short- and long-term goals to work on. The purpose of partnering with other organizations in the community, is to expand the access to different programs available to people needing some guidance.
“If there are any more companies, organizations, or individuals who want to partner with us that feel they have a service that could help, we hope they will reach out to us,” says Laforest.
“We would gladly accept their help. This program is about coming together as a community to help people find their way through difficult times.”
If you or someone you know have a life issue that you need help navigating through and could benefit from this program, please reach out to Laforest by calling the Peace River Salvation Army office at (780) 624-2370.