Updated on January 29, 2016
From Missionary to Visionary
I grew up poor in the Philippines. I understand where these people come from when they say they don’t have anything. They need hope to succeed and the skills to be resilient in life. That’s what we can offer them. – Anna Stone, The Salvation Army Pathway of Hope Director
The Director of The Salvation Army Pathway of Hope initiative, Anna Stone, talks from experience. “I’ve been there. I’ve seen the families in shelters here in Honolulu and the west side of O‘ahu. I’m determined to change or at least affect change in the way we handle our homeless situation,” said Anna Stone. The Pathway of Hope initiative seeks to help families and individuals break the cycle of poverty and drug addiction through securing stable jobs, housing, and becoming sufficient, contributing members of the community. The initiative is geared towards stemming poverty at the core, providing guidance and case management, a service beyond fulfilling basic needs.
Anna recounts her experience with poverty as a young child in the Philippines. “I had to beg for a can of pork and beans at the store near my house. You don’t know how helpless you feel when you have to do that for your family,” she said. Determined to change her situation, Anna entered her church’s discipleship school. “It opened a door for me. After completing school, I was able to travel to Europe and across the United States. I visited numerous poverty-stricken communities and supported their programs. Although the people, language, and culture were different, the situation was the same. There was no hope.”
The Pathway of Hope has three pillars: jobs, housing, and a community of support. These key elements combine into a formula for self-sufficiency. A formula that Anna herself used to succeed in life.
“Self-sufficiency is only as good as the people you have around you. A stable job and a safe home are only the first steps. The third pillar is what made gave me hope and the desire to continue my path,” said Anna. Her path led her to get married, work at a similar church in Honolulu, and pursue her Master’s degree in Public Health with a focus on Social and Behavioral Science.
“After graduate school, I established Ho‘omaka Hou with my husband, which offers homeless and disadvantaged families access to computers to find jobs, services, and resources in the community,” said Anna. “This was great, but as I visited shelters in Honolulu, met with families, assessed their needs…I realized Ho‘omaka Hou would only go so far. I had a vision of helping those in need beyond basic services. That’s why I joined The Salvation Army in their initiative to help others become self-sufficient.”
“My church gave me hope, education, and the opportunity to help my family,” said Anna. “Imagine if we connected a homeless family with a church of their choice or a community group with resources, that would help them progress beyond their current situation. Knowing that you’re a part of something and can contribute your skills and talents, it makes you feel proud. I want our clients to feel proud of themselves.”
Anna currently leads a team of three case managers, taking on a growing list of clients that seek to improve their lifestyles. “Our clients are not waiting for handouts. They know they have something to offer, they want to do more to become independent. All they need is someone to guide them through the necessary steps and hold them accountable.”
To learn more about the Pathway of Hope, visit our website.