October 2019 Newsletter
At New Pathways, we are not afraid to set big goals and achieve them. The youth and young adults we serve are no different, even though they are among the city’s most vulnerable and often outside the reach of other social service organizations. That is why we work toward fulfilling our distinct mission—to interrupt chronic poverty and adversity in young lives—to give opportunity where others see none. To grant opportunities to rebuild and transform lives, to strengthen communities, and give hope to those who need it most.
Our mentors are the critical piece to ensuring access for these youth to the social, emotional, and academic support they will need to overcome cycles of systemic poverty and disadvantage. Which is why we commit so much of our efforts to supporting our mentors and training them in how to address the kinds of unique challenges and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) our youth face. We’re using new channels to communicate, build intentionality in our work, and empower our mentors to be “coaches” for their youth.
New Pathways for Youth program participants typically experience four or more ACEs in their lives. These experiences can have both physical and mental impacts and lead those who go through them to resort to numbing behaviors such as substance and alcohol abuse and increase their risk of long-term health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and mental illness.
But the CDC, along with countless research studies and our 30 years of experience, tell us that one-to-one relationships are one of the most effective ways to disrupt the negative trajectory of adverse environmental factors. One-t0-one relationships with our intentional curriculum integrate all five most effective practices.
Our mentor development curriculum gives each of our mentors the tools and skills they need to instill “evidence-based hope,” as we like to say, and the social and emotional supports necessary to transport the lives of their mentees. To accomplish this, we focus on a number of “resilience factors” that help us to uncover unconscious personal stories and beliefs we hold that have a limiting role in our lives.
Resilience factors include:
- Building social and emotional skills
- Meeting basic needs
- Strengthening relationships within the home
- Building social connections
- Fostering attachment and nurturing relationships
All of these factors and the paths our matches take to achieving them tie together in the case plan we design for each youth and young adult in our programs. Our staff and program coordinators work closely with each mentor, ensuring their ability to focus their attention and care exclusively on their mentees.
The work of New Pathways is made possible by champions in our community. Mary and Joe Gaudio have been passionate supporters of New Pathways for many years. We want to celebrate their dedication to our youth and share what we learned recently when we talked to them about what motivates them to show up for our organization, our youth, and our mentors.
NPFY: Mary and Joe, what motivates you to give your time and resources to advancing the mission of New Pathways?
Joe: At my core, I’m passionate about building strong, healthy communities. Healthy, not only from a physical and behavioral perspective, but also from a social one. To do this, to break the cycle of poverty, it starts with kids facing incredible challenges on a day-to-day basis and building trust between kids, their mentors, and their communities. The mission of New Pathways and the work of their evidence-based model is focused on better understanding the culture of poverty to connect and build trust with youth, young adults, and their families to address the multiple traumas often associated with these circumstances.
Mary: I always go back to my favorite quote from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” We are all in this together, and when someone is lost or forgotten, we all have the responsibility to show them the way out. By lifting others, we all succeed, and I truly believe change and the message of transformation are possible.
NPFY: What does impact mean to you?
Mary: Impact means change. Over the past four years, I’ve seen amazing changes take place for kids who felt alone, hopeless, and stuck. Now they’re confident and empowered within a supportive community. That’s impact–change as a direct result of action.
Joe: Impact for me is about making a difference. A servant leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of the people and communities to which they belong. The measure of their success is to ask and answer the simple question, “Have I made a difference today?”
NPFY: What personal experiences drive your desire to give back?
Joe: I was fortunate to grow up in a stable, middle class home environment. I have not experienced the same level of trauma and challenging experiences of the kids engaged with New Pathways. I have, however, witnessed the outcomes of this trauma in my role as CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Community Plan that serves the Medicaid population of Arizona. I have seen the effect of social needs not being met and how this impacts health outcomes and the ability of a child to learn. This is where I find motivation and inspiration to give back.
Mary: I have an ACE score that is higher than the average New Pathways youth. Alcoholism, poverty, physical violence all were present in my day-to-day as a child. The most damaging of these was being made to feel unwanted. Thankfully, I had my mother to be my “caring adult” who loved me unconditionally. I learned to believe in myself and worked hard to get into college, and I began to fill my world with people who treated me as an equal and made me feel like I mattered. That’s when I met the man I call my best friend and husband, Joe. A high ACE score is certainly not a prerequisite for mentoring, but it allows me to relate to my mentee and share my own story as evidence that change is possible. I would not be where I am today without the love and support of my mother and a few others who came into my life at just the right time. This is what drives my desire to give back.
Like Mary and Joe, there’s something that drives all of us to do our work and make change possible for hundreds of youth and young adults each year. Their story inspires us to do more, to give more.
Are you looking for ways to strengthen your community and give back? Contact us to learn more about our Transformations Society.
NPFY: Jennifer, what led you to volunteering and how did you come to choose New Pathways?
Jennifer: My mom and dad had a major influence on me, demonstrating the importance of supporting one’s community and serving others, not just with donations, but with active involvement. I was introduced to New Pathways by a friend of mine who was, at the time, a Board Member. After doing some volunteer projects with NPFY staff, I was invited to join the Board. I was pleased that my knowledge in finance and accounting could be put to use for a worthy cause. I’m particularly passionate about the impact NPFYs program has, changing the life trajectory of young people and disrupting the cycle of chronic poverty right here in Metro Phoenix.
NPFY: Where does your passion come from for helping youth and young adults?
Jennifer: Although my parents stayed together for more than 60 years of marriage and I would say I come from a “normal” home environment, my youth included challenges that I negotiated only with the help of mentors outside the family. Knowing how much I needed and benefitted from a relationship with a caring adult to find my right path as a teenager, it only underscores how much more our disadvantaged youth can benefit from a trained mentor in NPFYs program.
NPFY: What is the Board doing to advance the mission and vision of New Pathways?
Jennifer: As you probably know, NFPY is up to big things! We plan to grow and hope to double the number of youth in our program in only five years. With our new building project underway, the Board is now tackling how to raise awareness of our program throughout Metro Phoenix so we are able to inspire enough volunteers to mentor and donors to support both our expansion and our larger annual budget going forward. To that end, the Board has begun to implement an expanded sphere of influence by inviting friends of NPFY to serve on newly formed organizations in addition to our Emeritus Council, an Advisory Council, an Initiative Council, and an Emerging Leaders group.
Jennifer: The relationships mentors form with their youth are extremely rewarding. They see transformation taking place. Many are surprised to experience their own personal growth through the program as an unexpected bonus! The positive results of our programs are easy to see, and I would say that by giving your time to this program you can truly change a life!
Feeling inspired?? Ready to jump in and get involved? Click on the link below to learn more about volunteering with New Pathways for Youth.
We recently joined the hardworking men and women of our construction crew for lunch to show our appreciation for everything they do. Our thanks go out to them, our construction partners at BCA, Norris Design, DPR Construction, Hensel Phelps, McCarthy, Sundt, and our community of support for making this moment possible!
We expect to see you at our Grand Opening on March 27, 2020! In the meantime, we’ll be providing our readers with monthly updates. So stay tuned…
Legacy gifts help us fund vital programs and plan for an exciting future serving Metro Phoenix’s most vulnerable youth. Such gifts can be made in the form of monetary investments and appreciated securities, real estate, and personal tangible property.
Contact us to learn more about legacy and planned giving.
SAVE THE DATE: NPFY Annual Breakfast 2020
February 25, 2020
Click here to learn more:
SAVE THE DATE: Dave Trout Golf Tournament
April 17, 2020
For more information or to volunteer for this event, click here!