From a parent of a long-time Pathways participant:
“This is to tell you how Pathways has changed our lives since Debbie, my daughter, joined Pathways in the 1990s. Prior to Pathways, Debbie had few if any friends and little or no social activities. She was depressed much of the time. She required much assistance from her parents and was very dependent on them.
Since joining Pathways, Debbie has developed a network of friends and now plans her social activities with them. She has become very independent and has used staff at Pathways as a resource when not sure how to handle a situation. Her self esteem has improved and she is no longer depressed. Having the Pathways organization as a resouce for Debbie has allowed me and my husband to be able to live our lives and travel without worry about how Debbie will cope while we are away. Eventually Debbie will need to have this independence when we are no longer here. It is wonderful to see her develop this independence while we are still here thus giving us peace of mind.
Thank you for all that you and your staff do. It is greatly appreciated.”
2. From a long-time Pathways participant regarding skills gained since becoming part of the program:
“I was shy and had few friends. I feel more confident about myself now. Yes, I tried to become friends with everyone I would meet. I had few really good friends before Pathways. I have many more now. I have always tried to do my best at everything I do. I have had many jobs including working at the daycare center at church, Kmart stocking shelves and serving lunch to children at Fergurson Florissant School District. I also worked in the dietary at Villiage North Retirement center, St Sophia nursing home and Delmar Gardens North nursing home. I have been at Schnucks grocery store for the last 10 years. I am more active in my community and church since joining Pathways. Since joining Pathways I’m confident in my social life. I like to travel to the different cities and see the sites. I like going to camp at Sunnyhill and doing all of the activies. I was never able to climb the tower and do the swing before. Now I can do all of that. I aslo like to fish, shoot the bow and arrow, paddleboats and sing the songs that Rob teaches us. Yes, I’m more confident now. I have been a happy person. Yes, I am more independent. I make my own decisions such as what activies I want to do with Pathways each month.
Yes, as stated above, I also make decisions as to what I want to do on my church activities. Recently I had trouble with my camera and I made a decision to purchase a brand new camera.”
3. From a parent of a client in the program only a few years:
“Pathways to Independence has given our son a sense of community and friendship. The staff is very understanding and is always there to help him. Through Pathways, he’s found true friends that he gets together with both outside and during scheduled events. It’s important to be able to connect, and Pathways has given him the chance to find connection.
While being involved in Pathways, he’s attended college receiving his Associates Degree and is now attending a University to attain his Bachelor’s Degree. Another success he’s accomplished is attaining a driver’s license allowing for him to get to and from school. His growth, independence and self-assurance are evident, and we feel that Pathways has been a part of helping him to grow into a self-sufficient young man.
4. From a parent of a Pathways participant that has expanded his horizons as a result of the skills learned in Pathways.
“As a parent who watched her son struggle for years (most often unsuccessfully), to make any plans for socializing, I will forever be grateful to Pathways to Independence. The “Calendar of Events” sent out monthly, as well as the easy way for signing up for activities, has enhanced his life immeasurably. He has made a number of good friends and is able to enjoy a variety of events. This has carried over into his ability to live independently and also his employment opportunities. He still has difficulty communicating at a job interview, but once employed he has been, not only accepted, but appreciated, because of his dependability, honesty, willingness to take on new assignments and pleasant attitude. I really believe that the chances Pathways to Independence has given him to socialize and grow as a person, has helped him to be the pleasant, independent, happy person he is now. The Pathways staff is “the best”. They are not only a part of each activity, but are “always there” if one of the participants needs advice or help in so many ways. They are wonderful role models. I am a very grateful parent.”
5. From the parent of a Pathways participant that has made vast improvements in problem solving since joing Pathways:
“Below is just a small sample of the contributions that Pathways to Independence has made for my son to help him become more self-reliant.
Just the other night, Brian had call a ride set up to go to a function with Pathways to Independence. Even though Brian missed his ride, he was (with a little help) able to problem solve the situation. At first he cancelled his ride home with call a ride, thinking he would not be able to go at all. He then called and found a different ride to the event and called call a ride back for a ride home. Although he was disappointed in himself for missing his initial ride, he problem solved the situation with little anxiety and was very proud of himself. This is huge for Brian! It’s these events/experiences that Pathways to Independence creates that make it possible for Brian and other young adults to have these successes that build confidence and self reliance. He looks forward very much to the social events that he signs up for, which motivates him to do things that he thought he could not do.”
6. About a participant who has found new methods of communicating and sharing with others:
Kate struggles to express herself to others. She speaks fast and sometimes is difficult to understand. This creates more difficulty for her to build relationships. On the other hand, Kate has a passion for art. Through her life experiences and additional exposure to artistic expression made available through Pathways, she has become more creative with her works. She has learned to take what she has read or seen and use that as inspiration to create pieces of personal art that she feels creates a connection with others. In her art, she uses a variety of media including paper, beading, collage, paper mache and clay to express herself in a different way to others. Each piece tells her own story.
Mrisa Dalla Valle, an Italian artist, worked with Kate to teach her to express herself through art. As a result, she has a stronger bond with her family. She offers her works to others as gifts, creating friendships through the recognition of her commitment and concern. She continues to build her social circle through art and in turn, inspires more personal confidence in her day-to-day life.
Kate’s commitment to others is evidence in her participation in the Children International program for the last 15 years where she supports two children every month using her own money. She sends them letters and artwork that also builds her social circle in other directions.
7. From a Pathways participant:
“I love Pathways to Independence! I have learned self -defense, cooking and to stick up for myself which I did not do in school because of my learning disability.”