by Linda Brinker
After a year-long hiatus due to COVID-19 concerns, The Salvation Army in Norway reintroduced Pathway of Hope (POH) to their region by employing five new case management staff and project managers. The additional positions are partially funded by the local government. As a result of the funding and new staff, POH has expanded its outreach to engage new POH families.
The Norway POH team spoke with the Central Territory POH team before the pandemic to discuss POH implementation ideas. POH project manager Kristin Stordal contacted the Central Territory POH team to request a second meeting to exchange successful POH implementation strategies again.
A two-hour virtual meeting was held with Dr. Maribeth Swanson, Dr. Michael Smith, myself, and the newly configured Norway POH team of staff and officers. The international Teams call was an informative exchange of ideas.
The Norway team shared their efforts to recruit new POH families by offering open house days and educational workshops to potential participants. Although similar recruitment strategies have been tried in a few places in the Central Territory, the success of the Norway outreach in these ways prompted the Central Territory POH team to re-explore the possibilities of our divisions conducting open houses and classes as a “best practice” for POH recruitment.
Later, the Norway team also disclosed their interest in meeting unstaffed service needs with volunteers and interns recruited through local universities. To be sure, the use of volunteers to assist in POH has long been recognized as a vital resource to Central Territory’s POH implementation. Thus, both teams agreed that involving volunteers contributes to an overall successful POH implementation strategy.
In terms of the Central Territory’s sharing of its successful POH implementation ideas, the role of the Advisory Board was highlighted. Board members are often essential links to invaluable community resources, such as additional funding and key connections to local leaders. Impressively, in Norway, the POH team established community connections by meeting with prominent politicians, including the Prime Minister of Norway, as they broadened POH outreach in their country.
The Central Territory POH team eagerly looks forward to the next biannual meeting with the Norway team to hear what further POH expansion has occurred there and to further exchange best practice implementation strategies. The POH team is excited to witness what started as a vision in the Central Territory attracting growing investment worldwide.