Charity Spotlight: Pathways For Change

 “Take a man off the street who has been raised in a home where more than likely there was addiction, poverty, low levels of education, and they have been left to pretty much raise themselves…” –Pathways For Change Chief Executive Officer, Connie Bookman

DOJ estimates that nearly 65% of inmates are substance abusers. More than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison every year. Approximately two-thirds will likely be rearrested within 3 years of being released. Many ex-offenders turn to their old ways, some turn back to using or selling drugs, as they make 40% less than they did prior to incarceration and struggle to make ends meet. Over 8.3 million children in the United States live with an addict. Pathways for Change offers a light at the end of the tunnel, an alternate path, a transition program. Pathways for Change is changing lives, reducing crime, and building futures. Located in one of the most impoverished parts of Pensacola, the Family Center is walking distance for many in the community and serves a variety of people.

Pathways for Change looks for what the community needs and is able to initiate the necessary programs and facilities. Since inception in 2003, PFC has expanded to include a Family Center, Men’s Residential Treatment rehabilitation, a sober living Transitions program, outpatient treatment for women, and an employment opportunity with Everything Outdoors Lawn and Maintenance. These programs offer residential substance abuse treatment, and mental health counseling, play, music and art therapies for children who have been affected by their parents’ addiction, violence, or crime history. 

The number one reason men fail leaving prison or long-term substance abuse treatment is the lack of stable housing. In 2014 The Clinton Cox Residence.With funding allowing six men per year to attend the Men’s Residential Treatment Program, the likelihood of these men returning to a life of addiction and crime is cut in half. The Family Center assists families in poverty and helps them break the cycle of a destructive lifestyle. Currently serving 150 children per year, this program will soon include babies that have been traumatized and taken from their parents due to domestic violence and/or substance abuse. Assisting men with housing and employment ensures that men leaving the program will be self-sufficient. Men can even find employment opportunities with Everything Outdoors Lawn and Maintenance. 

“We all need to be accepted and appreciated. Within the walls of the Family Center, it becomes a healthy family. We ask what do you need to be successful and we take all of the barriers away." - Connie Bookman

Published on Thursday, September 10, 2015