By participating in Pedaling for PathStone, you are helping individuals like Jennifer and Mario in the stories below reach their full potential. Every dollar we raise will make a difference in the lives of countless individuals and families PathStone serves by empowering individuals, families and communities to attain economic and social resources for building better lives. By riding, sponsoring or just donating, you will be helping PathStone provide opportunities for family and individual self-sufficiency by strengthening farmworker, rural and urban communities.
“The PathStone staff has become a second family to me, because I have no support or relatives in this area. I am so grateful for PathStone being there for me every step of the way.”
Jennifer was a single mother with two young children who was living in a homeless shelter. She saw an ad for Seldon Square apartments, an affordable housing complex that was developed and managed by PathStone. She applied and was approved and lived at Seldon Square for almost 10 years. During those 10 years, Jennifer married, started a new job and saved up enough money to purchase her first home. She enrolled in the PathStone First Time Homebuyer program, and purchased a house in Holley. It was a dream come true for Jennifer and her family until two months later when the basement flooded. Jennifer had to spend the rest of her savings to pay for the repairs and have the basement waterproofed.
As the saying goes, when it rains it pours. Other problems started cropping up around the house. There were numerous plumbing issues, and her shower and toilet both stopped working at the same time. For two months, Jennifer and her family had to take showers at the YMCA. Then problems with her husband’s health forced her to take time off from work. It was extremely difficult to support her now family of five on just her husband’s disability. She was ready to give up and walk away from the house.
Then fate intervened. Jennifer saw an ad for PathStone’s Regional Rehabilitation program. This program uses both state and federal funding to correct existing health, safety and code deficiencies in eligible owner occupied properties. With the help of the local Code Enforcement Officer, Jennifer applied and was approved right away. PathStone’s grant allowed her to immediately replace her toilet, hang new doors, replace damaged flooring throughout, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make electrical and plumbing upgrades.
Jennifer was extremely happy with the work PathStone did in her home. “The PathStone staff has become a second family to me, because I have no support or relatives in this area. I am so grateful for PathStone being there for me every step of the way – from my days in my Seldon Square apartment until now,” an emotional Jennifer shared.
“With my ten toes fully planted [on the ground] and all these great people at PathStone behind me, there’s nothing I can’t do.”
19-year-old Mario is the second youngest of 6 siblings. He is the most likeable young man you’ll ever want to meet. School work came too easily for Mario so he used class time honing his social skills. “I was the class clown, the teacher’s pet … Everybody was giving me attention so of course I showed out.” At 15, Mario’s parents lost their jobs and the family could no longer afford to pay rent so they moved to live with his grandma. This started a downward spiral for Mario. He stopped going to school and began drinking heavily and using and selling drugs. On St. Patrick’s Day 2016, he was stopped by the police while driving and caught with an assortment of drugs. He was arrested and jailed. Bailed out by his family, Mario spent the next 5 – 6 months in and out of court until he was offered a plea deal which included probation and a requirement to complete his GED and gain employment.
“I’m not gonna lie,” Mario says, “I’ve had a couple bumps since I got caught, but they never sent me back to jail. They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I never thought I could get my driver’s license. I never thought I would pass my GED. Then something changed inside me and I realized I got so much to live for, and BOOM! I got my driver’s license! BOOM! I got my GED.” Mario will graduate from his GED program in a week and a half.
Last month, Mario’s court liaison told him about PathStone’s Employment Focused Services (EFS) program. Mario recounts that meeting: “Once I met with Ms. Lisa, the program’s administrator, I was so excited! It’s like she knew exactly what I wanted to do as far as a career. I love this program!” Where does Mario see himself a year from now? A “real person” with a career, money saved up, and taking his first vacation ever. How does he plan to accomplish so much within a short time? “With my ten toes fully planted [on the ground] and all these great people at PathStone behind me, there’s nothing I can’t do. There’s so much to experience. Who would want to miss that just sitting around risking it?”