Family Focus: Salvation Army program helps mother of two get GED

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On the second floor of the Salvation Army on Jackson Avenue live more than a dozen families.

Antoinette Jones and her two children Zyria Lloyd and Josiah Jones are among the group.

“It’s been wonderful,” Jones said.

“Everybody’s been kind to me, loving, and caring. If I need anything, someone is always here to help me. It’s been real great.

Jones and her family are currently in the New Directions Family Residence Program, a long-term program that provides individualized services for women and children who desire to break the cycle of poverty and crisis.

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The family arrived in April 2019 after becoming homeless and leaving a domestic violence situation.

“It’s helped us a lot,” Jones said.

“For me, I was able to get the helped that I need spiritually, emotionally and physically. I reached the goals that I wanted to reach.”

The program has helped Jones earn her GED at the age of 51 and she is set to begin college.

Fifteen-year-old Zyria is on track to achieve her dreams of becoming an artist.

“Since I’ve been at the Salvation Army, it’s helped me a lot with my confidence and my courage of going out and speaking to other people about what God has done for me in my life,” Zyria explained.

The New Directions Program is one of several long-term programs provided by the Salvation Army of Memphis and Mid-South.

“Mothers and children come into our program and we help them with counseling services, education and job placement,” said Nina Harrelson, Salvation Army Public Relations Specialist.

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“Just a lot of things that you think people would learn throughout their lives and maybe for whatever reason their circumstances have not allowed them to learn those things. Basic life skills. How to have a checking account, balance your checking account, how to pay bills.”

Jones and her children are now in the process of transitioning out of the program and finding their own home.

She said even the smallest donation to the Salvation Army can help a family like hers.

“Even going through a pandemic, you can still have hope,” Jones.

“You still live your life. Be safe and Salvation Army is here if you need help.”