We strive to help participants live in the community and to be valued for their own uniqueness and abilities, just like everyone else. Our staff aims to walk along side participants, wherever they are on the path of life, and to support them in the places they want support. Ultimately, we want to empower participants to make their own decisions. Often our participants haven’t had a lot of autonomy; there has always been a family member, a partner, a staff sergeant, a guard, a parole officer, an orderly, a doctor, or a social worker telling them what they can and cannot do. Our hope at Pathways is to provide all manner of opportunities for participants to reclaim their lives on their own terms.
Our program participants have lived full lives before coming to us and when we honor the choices and paths they’ve been already taken, we can walk along the ones they travel today. As we model healthy relationships we grow and change together. While doing so we can help inform and suggest trails to traverse in the future.
We practice community inclusion and help participants reclaim their lives in every aspect of our programming by living the following values:
- Our program participants are strong. They have lived full lives, had many experiences, thrived in the face of past trauma, and deserve our respect.
- We are intentional with the way we engage with participants. Staff attitudes matter and we want to support folks in their choices. We’re here to help them to do the things they want to do.
- If we’re going to support and encourage program participants in their choices, we need to have a solid foundation to build from. Talking about where they have been, what their lives are like today, and what they hope their lives will be like in the future happens through genuine conversations and connection – enveloped in healthy dialogue and reasonable boundaries.
- We are intentional about helping people. We do that through kindness and respect while advocating in the community for our folks to live their lives just like everybody else.
On average, those with mental health disorders have 50% fewer close relationships than the general public; of those relationships half are with paid staff. In order to help participants grow their networks and foster new relationships, Pathways hosts regular Community Events around the city. These events are directed by participants' interests and range from fitness classes and museum visits to movies and WWE Live. The number of Community Events hosted by Pathways doubled from 2016 to 2018, and the number of participants attending these events has grown from 50 to 100 attendees each month.