When I first joined Pathways to independence it was a leap of faith; I was always accustomed to doing things on my own.
As someone who has always held down multiple jobs or been scraping to get by, I certainly wasn’t used to asking for help or receiving it, even when I was desperate. I will never forget the call I received from our Client director, Eydie. I cried tears of relief, joy, and fear of the world falling out from under me. Of course, I never thought in a million years I’d qualify! Suddenly, I was surrounded by people who wanted to help me make things happen. In a flash, I was offered an apartment in the Pathways buildings and my housing worries were over. I was even given a mattress so I wouldn’t have to keep sleeping on the floor. My neighbors were women who knew what I had been through, and were willing to show me the way to success. When I attended the Pathways graduation ceremony, I heard stories of accomplished, confident people who were just like me: lost, confused, and not sure of their future; they poured out their hearts and it felt like they were speaking to me directly when one graduate said “you are here, because you are worth it”. I cried then too, because I never felt like I had been worthy of such an incredible opportunity. Now, a straight A student starting a brand-new 3 year RN-BSN dual enrollment program at Golden West College and Cal State San Bernardino, I have a strong support network of people who want to see me succeed. I can chat with my neighbors when I’m having a hard time, or have a girl’s night in our study lounge with other clients. I can snag a snack from a food donation, or sit quietly in the meditation room, or attend a stress-management workshop. I can text or call my mentor when I’m having a rough week, or share my triumphs in my classes with my entire Pathways team. I still cry tears of gratitude for what I’ve experienced because I have so much to be grateful for. “You are worthy” is now something I do not question. Without the compassion and hard work of Pathways staff and their therapy providers, directors, and numerous connections in the community I do not know that I would be where I am today. I only hope as a nurse I can someday pay back this enormous gift I have been given; to pay it forward to those other women out there who have not yet taken the leap of faith. The leap is terrifying, but the landing on two feet, supported on all sides by good people, was absolutely worth it.