New ‘Passage’ program keeping teens off the street
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock Salvation Army is implementing a new program to help keep teens off the street.
The Passage program creates stability and opportunities for kids aging out of the foster care system. The new program is not even a year old but it’s already making a difference.
Bryleigh Campbell and Charie Alderman are utilizing the resource. They say it’s already changed their everyday lives.
“If I wasn’t in the Passage program I’d probably be homeless or in a psychiatric hospital,” Campbell said.
Alderman said, “I would probably be on the streets or dead.”
Those situations have been averted for Campbell and Alderman, two members of the Lubbock Salvation Army’s Passage program.
Both are using the program to create stability in their lives.
“I’m back in school. I’m getting caught up in my classes. My husband has a job,” Campbell said. “We always have enough food, a roof over our heads. We’re not worried about where we’re going to stay. We recently got our own car.”
Alderman also believes she is on a road to success.
“Hopefully I finish my GED, which shouldn’t be a problem.” Alderman said. “Go to college for phlebotomy and start my life.”
That wasn’t the case just a short time ago.
At one point Campbell says she and her husband were living out of a motel, and sometimes even in their car.
It’s a story the Salvation Army’s Erica Hitt says is becoming more common.
“We were starting to see an increase of numbers of these 18 year olds that were aging out of the CPS system,” Hitt said. “They didn’t have anywhere to go or they refused services. There’s a lot of different areas that could have happened but they were showing up at our emergency shelter program.”
Alderman says life was tough before she joined the program, moving from place to place through the CPS system.
“Officially at 8 both of my parents lost their rights,” Alderman said. “Me and my little sister officially moved to the children’s home and everything went downhill from there.”
Now the Passage program is helping get them back on track.
“They’ve got a lot of needs,” Hitt said. “They need this program that specializes, and is there to target those areas they may have trouble with.”
Hitt says making sure the teens in the Passage program achieve at least a high school level education is crucial.
“Education is huge for us,” Hitt said. “So we are making sure we see these kids through graduation.”
“The world’s hard enough without things like a high school diploma,” Campbell said.
But the Passage program is helping make things easier.
“Passage is one of the programs that’s genuinely here to help you,” Campbell said.
In its first year eight people have already graduated from the Passage program, and 13 others are currently members.
You can learn more about available programs here on the Salvation Army’s Facebook page.
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