Pathway Charitable Group is a charity who never gives up on people. Ever. That is the statement to which the Pathway staff return to when things get tough and a day in the office feels more challenging than usual. “A lot of the people we work with have become isolated from their families and community due to bad circumstances or bad choices” says Renee Jones Funding Manager for Pathway. “We start with the individual and address essential needs like housing, work, counselling, medical needs and more”. “The next step is to bring in wider supports like family, friends and the local environment”. “On a daily basis this means our services have to be flexible and able to sustain growth”.
In response to the need for growth, this year Pathway will help even more people through their new Affordable Housing division which seeks to address home-ownership, and the rental market for those struggling the most. Pathway has been assisting people with emergency housing needs in Canterbury for more than 10 years through their retreat in Motukarara and believes both services have equal importance.
Also high on Pathway’s priorities is providing jobs for people who have complex barriers to gaining employment. “The issues some of our clients face can often be complicated but the solutions don’t have to be. When you provide someone who has a desire for change with the tools they need to make it happen, the results can be inspiring. Making sure someone has a warm safe place to sleep and the opportunity to financially support themselves are at the core of what we do” says Samuel Caspersen. Samuel is a team leader for Oak Tree Devanning an employment division of Pathway and says “I meet guys everyday who want to work but because of a criminal conviction or lack of transport find it difficult to get a job”. ”Sometimes they come in for a trial and turn out to be the hardest working member on my team”.
Pathway loves to see people shine and the Prisoner Reintegration team has been witness to its fair share of miracles. Staff at Pathway all agree that not every story depicts the perfect rehabilitation but that many have defied the critics. One client Pathway recently worked with had 107 convictions and had not spent more than six months outside the wire (prison) since a child. Prison officers had watched him leave and reoffend many times sometimes within only days. Three years on with the support of Pathway, he is still in the community with a full time job and goals for the future, which don’t include going back to jail. ”In the past I kept getting out and I had nothing, nobody wanted me I couldn’t get a job and there was no future for me, this time I got out and people wanted me, actually wanted to help me, it made me cry to be honest” he recently told his Pathway Social Worker.
It is the stories like this that encourage Pathway staff not to give up on people, ever, even when at times they have given up on themselves.
If you want to know more about the other services Pathway offers, you wish to help people getting a fresh start or to make a donation please contact their community liaison Renee Jones or go to their website www.pathway.org.nz
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net