PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Behind the red kettles and the big boxes of toys are the other ways the Salvation Army helps families.
Edwin and Elizabeth Dolokelen and two-month-old Tabitha live in Philadelphia.
“It was my dream to come to America,” Elizabeth said.
Edwin and Elizabeth left their native Liberia last year to immigrate to the United States. It might have been a dream, but it also meant giving up a lot, like their studies. Edwin was studying information technology when he got his visa to come to the United States.
“I had to leave everything behind,” Edwin said. “I was in school. I also had a job. But I had to leave everything and start from scratch.”
That’s where Kristen Davis came in to help train Edwin.
“He’s an excellent student,” Kristen said.
As a Salvation Army job developer and retention coach, Kristen teaches Intro to Telecommunications, a 12- to 15-week program.
“They’re learning cable networking. They’re learning soldering. They’re learning how to construct, if you’re familiar with coax cable, which you see behind your cable box,” Kristen said.
Edwin graduated and is now working for QualTek in cable installation.
“Just meeting Salvation Army, my life has changed,” Edwin said. “Now I got a career, not just a job.”
Of the Salvation Army, Kristen said, “They aren’t just working to feed. They aren’t just working to clothe. They’re working to help employ.”
Edwin is checking out colleges. So is Elizabeth, who hopes to study medicine.
“I just pray to God my family will be happy together, and we just live a good and simple life,” Elizabeth said.
CBS3 is helping the Salvation Army through the Joy of Sharing Toyfest. If you’d like to help a child in need this holiday season, just buy a new, unwrapped toy and drop it off at the lobby of our studios at 1500 Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia.
You can find additional drop-off locations at www.cbsphilly.com/toyfest.