Pathways to Independence Transforms the Lives of Young Women • Long Beach Post News

After growing up in a North Long Beach home with family members struggling with addictions, she found herself in danger with her belongings frequently missing and her mental health unstable. She moved into an apartment with a roommate, but when the pandemic hit she lost her restaurant job, losing her income and her apartment.

Pathways to Independence is an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of disadvantaged women while breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse, and for Daisy (who wishes not to use her real name to protect herself and her family), it is exactly what she did.

Now Pathways has provided her with housing in Huntington Beach, and she has just completed her first semester at Orange Coast College, on her way to pursue a career in environmental science.

“I never thought I would go to college someday, and I go to college and pursue whatever I want to do,” Daisy said.

Pathways provides extensive support through housing, transportation assistance, mental health and medical assistance, among other resources, but its primary focus is to fully support young women as they pursue careers. higher education without having to take out loans.

All participants are expected to attend school full time and work part time, with the nonprofit covering most of the major expenses.

About 80% of women who start with Pathways to Independence complete the three to five year program, and about 90% earn their bachelor’s degree. About 42 women participate in Pathways at a time.

“Pathways has been around for at least 30 years and we’ve been in the community for quite some time,” said CEO Goretty Ramos. “We don’t want to be the best kept secret of what we have been, we want to let the world know that we are here.”

Over the years, the organization has grown organically, responding to customer challenges. More recently, clients have attended educational planning and life skills workshops, as well as health promotion workshops.

Pathways offers comprehensive support, putting each client in touch with a therapist and mentor.

“One of the things that many of us miss when we’ve simply survived or grown up in a survival mode or environment is that we don’t always have a network of stable and influential people,” he said. Ramos said. “One of the important parts of mentoring is that they start to network and that mentor is also going to be a connection point for a larger group of people.”

For a first generation student like Daisy, having a mentor to guide her through the college process has been invaluable, and she finally feels surrounded by a supportive community.

“I’ve always felt really lonely… (and) like a victim of something,” Daisy said. “(Now) I feel like I have a huge support system that I’ve never had in my life.”

In addition to receiving mentorship, Pathways put her in touch with a therapist, helping her heal from the traumas of her past and move towards a healthy future.

“During my time in therapy, I feel like I’ve lost a lot of the pain I’ve been through,” she said.

Pathways to Independence supports young women in their pursuit of higher education by providing housing and other resources. The organization typically serves around 42 women at a time. Photo courtesy of Pathways to Independence.

According to Ramos, she hopes clients will come out of the program with a real sense of independence, empowerment, and the confidence that they are capable of achieving difficult long-term goals.

With the help of Pathways, Daisy is on the right track. For the first time in her life, she is excited to go to school, eager to complete her education while learning American Sign Language. She also hopes to become a park warden one day.

“I don’t know how to express my gratitude any other way, because I have a safe place to sleep and I can do my laundry, I have a place where I can cook my food and a really peaceful place where I know I am in. security, ”says Marguerite. “I just feel like I have a future now, which I didn’t feel like I had before. And that’s all because of that. Just because I asked for help.

Support Pathways to Independence here.

New interim general manager

The WomenShelter of Long Beach Board of Directors has announced that Kathy McCarrell, Senior Consultant at Third Sector Company with over 25 years of experience leading nonprofit organizations in Southern California, will assume the role of Director acting executive. She recently headed the Long Beach Public Library Foundation during her transition and also served as the Interim Executive Director of the Long Beach Day Nursery.

She comes to WomenShelter with a master’s degree in social work and expertise in family violence.

Former CEO Mary Ellen Mitchell stepped down earlier this month after six years at the helm of the organization.

McCarrell will assume his new role on January 24.

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