In an effort to promote self-sufficiency in Puerto Rico, FirstBank announced Thursday it has partnered with the Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program with a donation to help the nonprofit work with six vulnerable families receiving their services in the cities of Guayama and Arroyo.
The partnership will allow the families to attain self-sufficiency and financial stability to break a cycle of poverty that usually spans generations, the bank said. According to the Puerto Rico Community Survey, 45.2 percent of the island’s population lives below the poverty line. Additionally, children raised in poverty are 32 times more likely to live in poverty as adults.
Established a year ago in Puerto Rico, the Pathway of Hope initiative seeks to help participating families identify their strengths and weaknesses to surpass them or improve them, and to put their personal aspirations into practice or make them a reality.
“With this donation, FirstBank promises to continue working with the families to help them surmount obstacles and attain self-sufficiency through education and self-employment. Since these are families with children, the impact is two-fold — two generations will benefit from the initiative,” said Catherine Ríos, the Community Reinvestment Officer at FirstBank.
“The result will be that more families will be able to fend for themselves and be less dependent on assistance to surpass the limits of poverty,” she said.
“At the Salvation Army, we are grateful for FirstBank’s commitment to this needy population. Our organization would not be able to provide more than 100,000 services each year if not for the collaboration of companies that are socially committed to eliminating the cycle of poverty and bringing self-sufficiency to our population,” said Major Eric Rodríguez, division commander of the Salvation Army in Puerto Rico.
Participants will also be provided transportation to training sessions, assistance in preparing for work interviews, and case management meetings, among other services. As part of the Pathway of Hope initiative, the families receive four evaluations to measure effectiveness before, during, and after intervention by social workers. These results allow the program to assess the obstacles and calculate its results.
In addition, the Salvation Army has recently begun to take part in FirstBank’s Financial Education Program for nonprofit organizations, which was launched in 2016.