As 2022 comes to a close, we are reflecting on what, for many, has been an incredibly difficult two years. Stress and fatigue have become every day fixtures for the majority of our community. Despite the challenges we have all faced, our participants have kept us positive throughout this year. They’re still achieving their goals with smiles on their faces despite the curveballs they’ve faced. Aaron is one such participant.
Aaron is a positive guy. He’s been through a lot, and he’s got a calm and quiet manner, but he consistently looks on the good side. And that kind of quiet positivity is infectious.
He enjoys all kind of sports, and credits playing sports from a young age for helping to develop character. “I think sports is the key because it develops certain character, it develops your mind and physical traits. It’s not about one person, it’s about working together for a common goal. That’s what these kids need right now. It worked for me, it will work for them.”
Aaron describes joining Pathways as a “much deserved break, because [being] on the streets of Philadelphia is not an easy thing to navigate. But I happen to navigate it pretty well.” He likes the porch on his home, because it is quiet. He takes time to clean up the alleyways and keep them clear, and spends a lot of time enjoying the quiet. “Being inside, it’s just a relief, because it takes a lot of stress off. Now it’s about how well can I cook inside with four burners and a few seasonings, rather than waiting for somebody to give me food or a handout. And I think that’s going to be the key for me to be successful. And I thank Pathways for that, because it’s teaching me a lot about cooking.”
When it comes to working with Pathways, Aaron says “I think it was a journey to be taken, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity. I took a chance on me trying to be independent and on my own, being self-sufficient. I think that was time for me to man up, get some responsibility under me, do a lot of little things that I wanted to do. Because you know, when you’re home, if you don’t get a chance to do a lot of things, but when you get a place with an address, things start to happen. It gives you a sense of stability. And it gives you a sense of responsibility to go along with that.”
“I think that was an essential need, getting myself back into society and doing things the way it’s supposed to be done.
There’s another type of life you live in when you’re homeless, and you’re making that transition, I think that’s where a lot of people are going to need help. And Pathways gives you the extra additional support so that you can maintain, sustain.” Part of that support comes from his team, who provide whatever supports Aaron needs in order to reach his goals.
Aaron says of his team “When you work well with them, and they work well with you, it’s a win-win situation. One team member comes by, checks on me, makes sure I’m alright. He asks me what can I do? What can we do better? What kind of things I’d like to do? He leaves it up to me what I want to do. We have a good working relationship. And as far as the other members of the team, I just try to go to them and ask them for advice. My thing is about making gradual progress.
And that’s what we’re all about, and you got to work with different people to do that. With the help of my teammates, and knowing what each specialty what they’re good at. So we all have different gifts and talents.”
“Since Pathways, I think it gave me a sense of adjustment. I got a key now. I can go in, when I have to go in and, I have assistance all around. If you take advantage, of some of the things that they have, where you hear the computer classes, going out to restaurants, the aquarium, going movies, things like that. It gets you back to being almost human, and enjoying life.”
When it comes to supporting Pathways, he says “It’s a great chance for you to give back to somebody who will miss an opportunity, such as me, you’re helping somebody to understand that, there’s more to life than just the street. To be giving a person the housing and opportunity of people to support them so they can maintain, sustain, it’s just a great all around investment.”
We strive to help our participants live in their community and to be valued just like everyone else. Our staff walk alongside participants, wherever they are on their path of life, and support them in the places where they want support. Ultimately, we want to empower participants to make their own decisions. Pathways is proud of the work being done by Aaron and we look to him as an inspiration, as we do with our other 550 program participants.
Though Aaron has found stability in his new home, there are still more than nearly 1,000 people living unsheltered on the streets of Philadelphia with nowhere to turn. Your donation enables us to offer resources to those in our community who need it most.