I’m a Better Person Now

Most students take our Pathlight Kitchen Culinary Training Program as an entrance into the delicious career of food service. Some, such as Amanda, have even broader goals. And though she graduated back in December 2018, she remembers the experience like it was yesterday.


When Amanda applied, Chef Esteban said the class was full, unfortunately, so she prayed…and prayed. Two days later, her prayers were answered! A spot opened and she could start her cooking journey! “It was meant to be,” she says.


What started as her desire to learn to be a better cook, get her certification, obtain employment or open up a business became so much more. She has started writing a book and has been using what she learned to give back in the community. “I’m a better person now… [the class] made me step up in who I was. I even learned to be on time!” So just how did our culinary training do all that for Amanda?


Amanda shares that she learned not only the mechanics of cooking, but the importance of sanitation and cleanliness, ingredient labeling, improvising as needed, meal presentation, problem solving, and helping others. She believes that, if she went anywhere else, she would not have learned so much about respect, teamwork, believing in oneself, and trouble-shooting, in addition to the hard skills. She credits Chef Esteban and Shannelle (now working in our Restore Program) with teaching in a positive, kind and caring manner. They went the “extra mile,” encouraging confidence in their students. Upon graduation, Amanda felt she could, “take on the planet.”


Amanda didn’t realize the depth of her passion for helping others. She now uses that passion and all else she discovered to prepare meals and help others through her church and community organizations, such as the Midnight Angel Prayer Warriors. She encourages those seeking a career to take advantage of our Pathlight Kitchen course and learn about the culinary path. “It’ll be life-changing,” she says. “They’ll be a better person!”

International Women’s Week 2022

Juanita Paul

Juanita Paul

Juanita Paul, our Senior Property Manager, came to Pathlight HOME nearly 14 years ago with tax preparation and accounting experience under her belt. Starting as a temporary employee and then moving to an administrative position, Juanita’s desire and talent for learning the many aspects of leasing and property management propelled her to grow within our organization. “It’s everything,” she says of what her present responsibilities entail, including “keeping our units occupied, walking the property, ensuring that the appearance is top-notch and the facilities are maintained.” She credits her great team as the key essence to being able to succeed in her position, which she unabashedly loves. Juanita is motivated most by meeting people, interacting with residents, listening to their suggestions, and making sure all are “happily housed.” Juanita feels appreciated by our residents for truly caring about their surroundings and doing her all for them. She, in turn, appreciates them! #WomenBehindPathlightHOME

Gabriella Trevino

Gabriella Trevino is our Community Engagement & Development Manager. With us since November 2019, she has led our Volunteer and Development endeavors to new heights. Motivated by purpose, compassion and energy, Gabriella says she has never had her heart “so into another job.” Her excitement about being at Pathlight HOME is rooted in the fact that she can see the “real and true” impact of how we help formerly homeless residents. In addition to permanent housing, she is passionate about our ever-growing Marketplace - which was developed through her creativity. There, residents select donated food and goods to make their efficiency unit a home. As she has interacted with them and experienced their smiles, Gabriella’s perspective of what is important to them changed. “It’s the simple things,” she says. That understanding has guided her volunteer and development pursuits to help residents change their lives in stable and secure surroundings. 


Amiya Santiago

Amiya Santiago is our Accounts Clerk. Joining Pathlight HOME in July 2021, she has the responsibility to review and file invoices in the Accounting Office. Amiya communicates with the different departments to “make sure we got what we paid for” and submits invoices for approval. A young adult seeking employment herself, Amiya says “This place found me through mutual contacts.” She likes knowing that we are about finding people who need help and “giving them our best.” Though she generally works with numbers, she can feel our mission permeate everything we do. And when she helped with December’s resident party and actually experienced the look of joy on so many faces, she couldn’t wait to do more “hands on” work. Amiya credits Pathlight HOME, her grandma, and a family of nurses with her desire go back to school, “help people,” and eventually work in the community, perhaps in criminal justice. 


Miscindy Taylor

Miscindy Taylor is the Assistant Lead Case Manager for our Restore Program. She joined the Pathlight HOME team nearly seven years ago as a Life Enhancement Specialist. Ironically, at that time, Miscindy was studying to become a medical office administrator, but her work with a homeless ministry at her church thankfully pulled her in our direction. Miscindy now has supervisory duties and also offers residents a monthly, information-packed session called, “What’s the 411?” Yet, most of her talent is still directed to working one-on-one with clients, guiding them to the resources needed to change their lives. What pulls on her heartstrings is “seeing residents succeed in overcoming challenges.” What inspires her is, “Knowing I had a hand in it.” She is excited about our growth and the new programs available; and is driven by the fact that our Founder/CEO and President are women. “There are good steps to follow!” 


Kiara Williams

Kiara Williams is an Employment Counselor in our Employment Center. She joined Pathlight HOME in July 2021, driving more than an hour each morning. When a job close to home arose in January, Kiara was pulled in two directions. She “just couldn’t leave” us. Our mission, what we do, whom we serve, and our impact on the community were embedded in her heart. But, economics had to come first for this single mom and she made the tough decision to leave. Not so fast, we said, as her part-time schedule with us took root. Kiara’s passion is helping people, whether due to her mom, her Human Resources Management degree, or the nine Army years that “molded” her. She is dedicated to getting clients into the working sector, putting smiles on their faces and referring them to services as needed. “This job makes me feel like I have a purpose.”