One hundred and fifty years ago William Booth, a London minister, gave up his pulpit to take the message of hope and salvation to the street where it would reach the poor. He knew that his mission to preach the gospel could only be achieved if he first met the basic needs of men and women. He did it through an army of dedicated people who would take this message directly to homeless and hurting. Today, his vision of hope is still alive through the countless donors, volunteers, officers, and employees who are The Salvation Army.
The work of The Salvation Army is as varied as the communities in which we serve. We may be providing shelter, or food, or a safe and enriching place for children and youth. We may be helping with homework, or teaching job skills, or digging a family out of their stormravaged home. The mission of The Salvation Army never changes; we serve wherever and whenever we can, without discrimination.
In these pages you will see the faces of some of our neighbors and learn more about the impact of The Salvation Army in our community. As we move Forward! as an army, we know that the life-changing programs and services we provide for people struggling with poverty, disaster, homelessness, and addiction help them move forward as well.
The Salvation Army could not do this important work without the support of people like you and me. When we add our voices, our time, and our resources to the mission, we help move The Salvation Army Forward! and make a difference in countless lives in our community. Thank you.
God bless you,
Captains Bobby and Natalie Jackson
Marvin knows that he was not the sort of person that could be trusted. He had an incredibly dark past. For 30 years he was a drug dealer, an addict and worse. He would stay high for days at a time and was often in trouble with the law. Still, during a time of incarceration, he knew that something had to change.
He could never have anticipated the way that it would happen.
“I walked outside ready to make a drug deal and the sun hit me and I just heard a voice and it said `It’s time.’ I went into the house and came back out, and I heard it again. I knew it was God. I called my niece and she brought me to The Salvation Army.”
After completing a drug rehabilitation program, The Salvation Army helped him to get his life back on track. He was given an opportunity to serve others who were struggling with their own issues. The Salvation Army gave him a job helping with other programs that ministered to those who found themselves in situations much like his own. The Salvation Army saw the change in Marvin’s life and trusted him to help others. That’s when he knew that his life had been changed.
“After four months working the night shift they gave me the keys to the doors. They respected me, and for them to give me the opportunity to do things and not judge me because of my past and what I used to do, they became my family. It’s very rare for someone who doesn’t know you, to trust you like that.”
Incredibly, as a new man, Marvin discovered a passion for mentoring young people. He teaches lessons on teamwork, attentiveness and good values. He makes himself available to listen to stories about their home and school lives, and he encourages the young people to hold each other accountable and reach for a higher standard.
Marvin credits The Salvation Army with teaching him about Jesus Christ, about forgiveness and how to be a man of integrity. He discovered that his life was not defined by his past. Thanks to the love of God and The Salvation Army, Marvin has experienced a complete and total transformation.
“On my 47th birthday I played basketball by myself in the rain, and just cried. For the first time in 30 years I was celebrating my birthday clean. If it weren’t for The Salvation Army, I wouldn’t have known my purpose. I have found my passion.”
The notion of childhood has changed greatly over the past number of years. In the past, children would spend hours outside after school, exploring, learning, and building friendships. Today, it seems that so many kids are preoccupied – their heads buried in their phones. Rather than exploring the great outdoors, they spend their time lost in the fantasy world of video games.
All of these distractions can have a long-lasting effect.
“I kinda didn’t get all the words right,” said seven year old Oscar.
Oscar is a member of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, and for nearly two years he struggled with reading and comprehension. The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs are focused on the development of young people across six domains: Character and Leadership; Health and Life; Spiritual Development; The Arts; Sports, Fitness, and Recreation; and, Education and Career. Knowing how critical reading is to all educational pursuits, Oscar’s club offered a tutoring program designed to help club members just like him.
The program director at the club beams when talking about Oscar. “In 2013, when Oscar began going to tutoring he increased his reading scores from 55 to 78 percent in 16 weeks!”
At the end of 2014, Oscar tested out of the reading program with a 96 percent on his last reading test.
“I always liked reading and math, but now that I understand the words better my grades in school are better. When we started reading Monkey Heart, one of my favorite books, I almost read the words wrong. Until I remembered what I had been taught by my reading tutor,” said Oscar.
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs exists to help young people to realize their full potential. The clubs provide a safe place for members to learn and grow, to have life-enhancing experiences, and to have daily opportunities to explore their relationship with Jesus Christ. At the Boys & Girls Club, Oscar received far more than simply the ability to read. He received hope.
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to every Advisory Board member. Thank you for bringing your passion, intellect, insight, experience and resources to move The Salvation Army forward. Your service and leadership are essential in changing the lives of people in our communities.
Edgar Pat Levy