Over a year ago with little to her name, former-addict “Laura” came to Pittsburg to start a new life with a baby on the way.

She now has a job, a three-bedroom home and a running car. 

Laura ran into former Pathway of Hope Case Manager LeeAnn Kershner at the Salvation Army Pittsburg. Although Laura was visiting Salvation Army for another service, one thing led to another and now she is the first to graduate from the Pathway of Hope program.

“I was doing different things to better my life and so we thought we’d give it a try,” Laura said. 

Pathway of Hope is an approach to provide targeted services to families with children in the home and to take action to break the cycle of crisis, LeeAnn said. 

“It feels really good,” Laura said. “I’m definitely full of hope now.

“I was hopeful before because I was clean and sober but I was alone without family at all. 

“It was nice to meet with Leeann and to have somebody there that knew the goals I had set and see me achieve them and for her to cheer me on while that was going on.” 

Laura and LeeAnn met weekly, set goals for what Laura wanted in life. LeeAnn referred Laura to healthy family programs to help with things such as milestones for her new baby. 

“Every time I would leave after a meeting with her, it would always put a pep in my step,” Laura said. “It made me feel really good.”

Laura also has a nine-year-old who lived with her grandmother, but that has changed. 

“Because the path I had taken years ago, my mom started caring for her, and she’s going to start living with me at the end of her third-grade year,” Laura said. “It is just really exciting because now I’m getting to do things I should have done from the get-go.

“It’s never too late. That’s how I feel.” 

Laura said she misses visiting with LeeAnn, there are no worries there because LeeAnn plans to be there for her even after she graduated from the program. 

“I really felt like there was a connection when she first came in,” LeeAnn said teary-eyed. “She was self-motivated and took the initiative, she was really on the path to making a change in her life.” 

This is an example of someone who took the courage to pull themselves up, and with the compassion of a guiding hand she was able to get back onto a better path. I hope she continues living a happy, healthy life with her babies.