Building Community Through Pathways Drop In Center
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this year’s theme is #MoreThanEnough. Our goal at Pathways is to show all of our members that they are more than enough with services meant to encourage dignity and community like meals, showers, laundry and group activities.
Celebrating Culinary Graduates
The Pathlight Kitchen Culinary Program began in 2014 and continues to provide students with the skills and certifications needed to find employment in the culinary industry.
Volunteer Spotlight: Aimie Hok
“I love that Pathlight is like a family, and the leadership is always appreciative of your time,” Aimie says. “They show gratitude and take time to get to know each volunteer. You matter here.”
Volunteer Spotlight: Jessica Peck
“There’s something beautiful about helping others,” says Jessica Peck, a volunteer at Pathlight HOME.
Honoring the Women Who Serve
Pathlight HOME Team Members Share What Motivates them On International Women’s Day
Pathlight HOME Names Babette Allen Chief Executive Officer
“Babette’s passion and extensive experience serving the unhoused in our community makes her the perfect leader for Pathlight HOME,” said Larri Thatcher, board chair of Pathlight HOME. “With thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness in our community, the importance of our work is even greater and Babette will help guide Pathlight into the future.”
A New Beginning
“The team at Pathlight HOME are so dedicated to their clients,” shares Scott. “If you’re willing to put in the work, they are with you along the way.”
Community Partner Spotlight: Orlando Magic Day of Service
“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Pathlight Seasons 2022: Housewarming Celebration
“We’re so thankful to the community for their support in helping us make this celebration even more meaningful to our residents,” said Babette Allen, president of Pathlight HOME. “It takes time to rebuild, and this is just one way we can share our compassion and care for the people we serve each day.”
An Opportunity to Grow!
“God gave me this opportunity,” says Tameka. “I needed a skill…I needed a win…and before I even finished class, I got a job at a 5-Star Hotel that has a lot of restaurants!”
They Change People’s Lives Here…
“They change people’s lives here, one life at a time,” says Carolyn. “People here spread faith by showing love and helping.”
Pathlight HOME Receives 2022 Florida Blue Sapphire Award
Pathlight HOME is selected as first place in the organization category at Florida Blue's 2022 Blue Sapphire Awards Ceremony with an award of $100,000.
Pathlight HOME Receives 2022 Community Impact Award
Pathlight HOME, an innovator in supportive housing and vocational training, today received a three-year, $200,000 Community Impact Grant from AdventHealth.
I’m a Better Person Now
“I’m a better person now… [the class] made me step up in who I was..."
International Women’s Week 2022
The week of March 8, 2022 is #InternationalWomensWeek and an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women. As an organization whose Co-Founder/CEO and President are both women, we are excited to honor the week by spotlighting five of the capable, caring and hard-working #WomenBehindPathlightHOME.
Black History Month Spotlight – Fernando Beaubrun
Fernando knew from his early career days in Homestead, Florida that he wanted to “help people have better lives.” As one of the first-ever employees of our Employment Center, this warm and experienced professional has helped lead the charge to provide job search resources to the community.
It’s a Pathway to Life!
“It’s a pathway to life,” says Alphonso. “People just need to apply themselves. It changed my life tremendously.”
An Awesome Experience
“I feel great, wonderful…I achieved my goal of learning more about the kitchen..."
A Positive Attitude
”Pathlight HOME is a good place to stay because they help you get on your feet and lead you in the right direction…the right way to go about doing things,”
Volunteer Appreciation Week: Remembering Brian S.
This year Pathlight HOME would like to recognize volunteer Brian S. as a leader with high spirits on a mission to help.
The Women Behind Pathlight HOME
We are excited to honor #WomensHistoryMonth, by spotlighting some of the dedicated #WomenBehindPathlightHOME. In no way are we discounting our male colleagues; but with 70% of our team being women, we thought this a perfect opportunity to focus on an unsung woman from each department.
Celebrating Pathlight HOME’s 29th Anniversary
It all started in 1991 when a local Reverend and Attorney discovered that they had the same dream of housing Orlando's homeless. By 1992, Grand Avenue Economic Community Development Corp. (AKA Pathlight HOME) was incorporated with a HUD Grant Application submitted to house 100 homeless persons. Almost 29 years and 7,000 homeless housed later, we are proud to say that we are "Still Dreaming". Join us in celebrating 29 years this April 1st!
Resident Update: James’s Story
We love the opportunity to provide our supporters an update on residents about whom we’ve posted via Pathlight HOME’s blog and social media. How are they doing now? Are they still progressing along the path from homelessness to a changed life? What does that look like?
Black History Month Spotlight – Armando Pinder
Armando’s smile and laugh can be heard throughout Pathlight HOME’s Maxwell Terrace complex each day as he keeps the apartments in tip-top shape for residents.
Fare Start Catalyst Kitchen Grant
Meals and a Silver Lining…Thanks to FareStart’s Catalyst Kitchens The aroma in Pathlight Kitchen is mouthwatering. It wafts behind the carts delivering the freshly prepared, healthy meals to the residents in the three Pathlight HOME Permanent Supportive Housing Programs, who now call one of two transformed hotels home. Once living in the streets, woods, and shelters […]
From Homeless to Housed…and Very at HOME!When you hear about someone whose life changed for the better with help from a nonprofit organization, do you ever wonder if they stayed on that upward path? Perhaps they were once homeless, then provided a permanent place to live and supportive services to help them change their life. […]
"They give you things you need that you can’t afford...I got towels, hygiene items, a hair dryer, a can opener and even a green vase that matches my green pillow!”
“I came in and met Miss Clarissa,” she remembers. “She just took me right in, like an angel. She saw my pain and helped me get out of the situation.”
With his unemployment checks, guidance from Syr (his case manager) and anticipated return to work Aug 31, he is making it through this extra-tough period. “She’s the difference here,” he said. "She gives everything of herself to try to help you."
Welcome Home Virtual Tour
Curious about Pathlight HOME? Join our first lunch and learn. We'll go through our mission, our impact, and how you can help your community.
Realizing this was not how she wanted to live, yet being fearful there would not be affordable housing for her, she started to pray. “I’m a religious person…God showed me a sign. He led me in the direction to take that big step.”
Giving Tuesday Now — A Wonderful Success
Thanks to you, we’ve seen tears of joy and smiles of gratitude recently in our Maxwell Terrace and Maxwell Garden lobbies, along with the masks and social distancing practices.
Giving Tuesday Now
Today is #GivingTuesdayNow and we thought it was the perfect time to show you – through the eyes of our staff - how your generosity truly helps those who once lived on the streets.
Catalyst Kitchen Gifts Students with Financial Assistance
Catalyst Kitchens contacted us to gift several students and alumni with $500 each from the #GiveTogetherNow Campaign, to offset financial burdens related to the pandemic.
Mark looks at his transformation as a big puzzle, where all the pieces must be in place. “I’m not losing any of the pieces of that puzzle. As long as I keep doing the right thing, I get the right result. And it makes me feel good.”
Second Place Winner of Best Places to Work Multifamily for Women
The caring work that the women – and men – of Pathlight HOME do to help change the lives of our formerly homeless residents was recognized as #2 of 25 in the National Best Places to Work Multifamily® for Women!
"If it happened to me, it can happen to anyone,” says James as he recounts his story. “Just because I was homeless doesn’t mean I wasn’t a successful individual at some point.”
Born to drug-addicted parents and put to bed in a closet, Amey entered the foster care system at the age of five and was adopted at eight, only to be “returned” to foster care at 13.
Honoring Rev. Maxwell’s Legacy
Rev. Maxwell passed away almost 15 years ago, and we still miss him – but we are proud that his legacy lives on at Pathlight HOME every day and that his impact continues long past his death.
What started as something to “teach me more about cooking,” turned into much more. “I was around people who really cared and I was given an opportunity to succeed in something I always wanted to do.”
“I needed something better,” he recalls, so in 2008 Brian moved to permanent housing at Pathlight HOME’s Maxwell Terrace Apartments. “It’s a good way of appreciating your own place…my own bed, a roll-top desk, a better way of life.”
“I was a damsel in distress,” she laments, yet knew, “God hasn’t failed me yet! [...] I truly consider myself blessed. I’m happier and more content (than ever.) If I was to fail…it will be because of me – not the rain or because I missed the bus.”
Meet Mary Ann
“I like it here. I’ve met better friends!” In particular, Mary Ann appreciates the neighbor who is happy to help her when needed and is grateful for her Case Manager, Syr Rodriguez. “She got me a replacement Medicaid Card!”
“One thing that keeps me grounded here is that I’ve done nothing to be given this chance. I haven’t earned this. Other people have made it possible for me to live, not just survive,” he explains.
“I started to depend on myself, instead of others. If I can be independent, others can. You have a case manager to help. They can give you that step, but you need to use that stone.”
Meet Rosa and Kim
“Pathlight has been a total blessing. 360 degrees to make sure we succeed, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be successful,” states Rosa. They are excited at the concept of developing their “signature sauce”!
After almost four years in her homey first floor efficiency, she reflects, “Someone can come here and get on their feet. It made me feel good about myself. It’s here for the taking…if you want it.”
“My childhood was fun, my middle age was darkness and I’m back to enjoying life,” says Lawrence. A stroke, heart attack and diabetes survivor, he’s proud and grateful to be “clean from drugs for more than 10 years.”
For J'Herica, the light at the end of the tunnel will come when she can reunify with her children. Now that she lives stably at Pathlight HOME and works part-time in guest services, she believes this is possible.
No matter his daily saga, Kenneth is positive. “I’m just working to right my wrongs. What you’ve been through doesn’t make you what you are now. If you want [to be] better, there’s work you can do to make you better.”
One’s life can go downhill in an instant, despite a college education, their creative talents, a new job...or all three. The true measure of a person is their fortitude, tenacity and willingness to do what they must to climb back.
"I wish more people would find this opportunity. What a great opportunity here; there’s great structure… In Brazil, this would be an expensive school. Learning to cook only improves your life!"
Stephen learned at a young age the feelings of hurt, distrust and anger, all of which shaped his turbulent life. “I’ve been a survivor all my life,” he says. “If you don’t have survival skills, you’re not going to make it!”
“I’m really so grateful for this apartment. It’s SO much more than I could ever hope for,” he says. “It’s given me a base where I feel comfortable…and have a safe home to come home to!”
When asked what she recommends to someone considering taking Pathlight Kitchen’s 12-week Culinary Training Program, she says to go for it! “If you are interested in a culinary career, it’s a great foundation. It opens many doors.”
Inside Pathlight Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program
Pathlight Kitchen students have worked hard in the classroom and our commercial kitchen to complete a comprehensive culinary skills course. Their studies culminated in the day’s graduation ceremony.
Wilhelmina moved into Maxwell Garden Apartments in 2013 as part of the Safe Haven Program for chronically homeless, disabled adults. “It was a fresh start,” she says. “I have a personal room, privacy… You can’t beat that!”
“This is how I know God’s there every step of the way…,” Tinker says today. “To have the AC on and to go to bed at night…I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be alive if I was living on the streets.”
“I’m still getting used to it. I have a new bed, a rug; I’ve been buying stuff,” he says cheerfully. “I want it to look good! There’s a sense of pride. The opportunity is there, but you’ve got to want it.”
“Be happy you have a place, because you never know when you won’t… You guys have done an amazing job by taking an old motel and making it nice and clean. You have made it…to where it can be called an apartment complex.”
“They helped me in a lot of different ways…I was able to take care of my health; they made sure I took my meds. Now I’m okay and watch the clock (myself). I am able to relax and be at home…be safe.”
Pathlight HOME Awarded $10K TD Charitable Foundation Grant for Homeless Housing Program
Pathlight HOME, Central Florida's first and largest provider of the "Housing First" approach to helping homeless men and women rejoin the community, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the TD Charitable Foundation.
New Coat of Color Dazzles!
Spring is the perfect time to splash a new coat of color on your home! And that’s what nearly 100 volunteers, staff, and residents did for the formerly homeless men and women who now live in Maxwell Terrace Apartments.
A $750 Reality Check
Suppose life hit you in the face and you found yourself living on $750 per month. Could you do it? Could you pay for the necessities, much less a few frills? How would you budget?
Social Enterprise – Sobik’s Subs with a Special Ingredient
The Sobik’s Subs location at 4049 S. Orange Blossom Trail, in front of Maxwell Garden Apartments, offers up an extra-special ingredient to go with its fresh sandwiches and salads!
Fact Friday – Fair market value rent
There is currently NO STATE in the nation where a minimum wage job will pay the rent of an apartment at fair market value. Pathlight HOME exists to offer affordable housing for the vulnerable in our community.
Fact Friday – Homeless youth
Did you know that *18 percent* of the nation’s homeless youth are located in Florida?
Fact Friday – Affordable housing units
There is only ONE affordable rental unit available for every FIVE extremely low-income Florida households!
Fact Friday – Increase in homeless youth
Between 2006 and 2013, the number of homeless youth increased by 80% nationally; in the state of Florida, it spiked by 150%!
Fact Friday – Florida homeless population
Did you know that the homeless population of Florida is the THIRD LARGEST in the nation?
Bites Camera ACTION!
THANK YOU to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida & Universal Orlando Foundation for bringing fresh produce like broccoli, melons, & apples to Pathlight HOME this week!
Empowering the Faith to Trust
Brian and Mary are homeless and live, at the moment, in a tent in some Orlando woods. They are also both mentally ill.
Karen Bono Special to the Sentinel
I feel angry and ashamed at our lack of humanitarian consciousness, especially after meeting a mentally ill member of our community who has struggled to make a difference.
One big step toward a home for the homeless
East Orlando group wins grant for a homeless drop-in center.
Pathways Drop-In Center for the Mentally Ill
Jeff is homeless and stays at a makeshift “home” in an empty field under a Verizon Wireless billboard.
Lessons in reality, fairness…..
Lesson in reality, fairness a passionate advocate for mental-health treatment, Nelson Kull uses his background as a paranoid schizophrenic to bring about change.