News from Pathway Homes, Inc.April 2016
In This Issue
Five Years In a Row!
Pathway Homes ranked 14th among medium sized organizations with 50-249 employees and 31st overall on the 2016 Best Non Profit Organizations to Work For list! The award program is sponsored by The Nonprofit Times and Best Companies Group (BCG), which utilizes a nationwide survey to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in the nonprofit industry in the United States. 


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A Busy Winter For Advocacy

The Pathway Homes Advocacy Committee continued its work this quarter by reviewing 2015 advocacy efforts with a consensus that the Creigh Deeds visit in November provided the most significant impact resulting in increased exposure for the agency.  Sue Zywokarte, Pathways Board and Advocacy Committee member, was formally recognized at the January Board meeting for her years of untiring advocacy efforts on behalf of the agency and the individuals we serve. 

Board Chair Dan Gray and President and CEO Sylisa Lambert-Woodard present a certificate of recognition to Sue Zywokarte.

A Scout is Helpful

Will McLauchlin of Boy Scout Troop 159 led 15 fellow scouts in creating 'Welcome Home Kits' as part of his Eagle Scout project.  "I wanted my project to make a real difference in people's lives," said Will.  "When I thought of all the ways I could make a difference, I kept thinking that there had to be some way I could help the homeless in my community."

   >> READ MORE 
New Ways to Get in Touch With the Consumer Advisory Council
The Pathways Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) is made up of dedicated resident members from diverse programs across the agency.  We are involved in agency processes and activities and provide input and feedback on many different areas in the agency.  Examples include the questions on the annual individuals served satisfaction survey, the annual summer cookout, and the agency's strategic plan.  If you have questions, comments, or ideas to share, there are now new ways to get in touch.
The Nitty Gritty About Recovery at Pathways

In preparation for 2016, the family group was surveyed in November 2015.  Of those that responded, 63% stated that the current Wednesday evening meeting schedule and length of time works for them. The most requested topic from the survey was nitty-gritty about how Pathways promotes recovery; schizophrenia was a close second followed by topics ranging from the Pathway Homes Advisory Council to housing for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Earth Day: 5 Ways to Celebrate Your Green
Green Pathways
2016 marks the 46th anniversary of Earth Day.  Held on April 22 each year, Earth Day provides a day for commemorating, practicing and supporting environmentally friendly initiatives and activities.  Green Pathways challenges everyone to be more environmentally aware every day but especially on Earth Day. The many Earth Day activities taking place around the DC metro area provide opportunities to be a part of the celebrations.   Find one that calls to you and join in the fun of going green!

Pathways Briefs: In Other News 

Celebrating Staff

Employee of the Quarter
New Hires
Quick Links...

A strategic plan is used to help an organization do a better job - to focus its energy, to assess and adjust its direction in response to a changing environment, and to ensure that its members are working toward the same goals.  In short, strategic planning is a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it, while keeping a focus on the future.
Pathway Homes is close to the end of the five year period covered by our current strategic plan, and in the midst of creating the plan that will guide us through the next five years.  Last October, the Board of Directors defined the parameters of the process at their annual retreat.  They made clear that the information gathering and analysis process should be very broad, and should be defined by its inclusiveness.  In providing this update on where we are today, I am proud to report on the progress toward our strategic vision.
In addition to defining the plan objectives and process, the board sought to involve the staff more fully in the process.  In November of last year, the entire Pathways staff met and engaged in an exercise to assess the agency's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  The staff exercises also generated responses to a range of specific questions posed by the board to staff.
As this new year started, our information gathering process went external.  Interviews with various stakeholders were conducted in January and February.  The purpose was to provide the opportunity for government officials, community partner agencies, foundation funders, and family members of the individuals we serve to weigh in: on the effectiveness of our programs, our standing in the community, and our progress toward meeting our mission and achieving our strategic goals.  This past month members of our Consumer Advisory Council complemented our process with the most authentic and critical input - the consumer voice.

Today the information gathered from the internal agency scan is being reviewed and compiled by our planning facilitator.  Next, we will begin to explore the external factors that affect our agency's future.  We will look at community needs, those that have been identified as well as those predicted to become a factor in the next five years.  We will look at the environment of providers, assess the ability of government and non-profits to meet those needs, and identify potential gaps in service.  We will also look at the financial sustainability of current models of care, and make projections about resources needed to meet future needs.

I am an avid believer that listening to your environment results in sound leadership and quality management of an agency. I can't wait to see the final plan, and what pathways our agency will strategically travel over the next five years.  Working together, we can eradicate homelessness among those with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring disabilities.  At the same time, we can address the needs of those unstably housed, frequent users of hospital emergency and inpatient care by extending permanent supportive housing to the more than 600 individuals currently awaiting services in our community. 

Sylisa's Signature
Sylisa Lambert-Woodard, EdD, LCSW, LSATP, MAC
President and CEO
In Her Own Words: The Place I Call Home 
By Sherril Crawford

My name is Sherril. I have lived at Stevenson Place for the last eight years with thirty-six other residents. I have my own room in a four-person suite. We share a living room, but each have our own bedroom.

I am involved in several group activities including life skills, music appreciation, and a game group. The life skills group helps me learn relaxation techniques that work for me. I find taking deep breaths, meditation and yoga beneficial.
Join Us for the 2nd Annual Steps to Pathways Benefit Breakfast

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day.  This breakfast in particular can be the most important meal of the year because it makes a difference in the lives of adults with serious mental illnesses, some of whom have also experienced chronic homelessness. Pathway Homes is hosting its second annual Steps to Pathways Benefit Breakfast.  Join us for an inspiring morning on Thursday, May 19th from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center, 3740 Old Lee Highway in Fairfax. "Pathways to Recovery" was chosen as the theme for this year's event.
Pathway Homes' Annual Employee Recognition Event Celebrates Diversity

Walking through the halls of Pathway Homes, guests often comment on the wonderful sonata of accents and cultural backgrounds of our staff.  The staff at Pathway Homes represent nineteen different countries across the globe.  This year the agency chose a theme for the annual Employee Recognition Event that celebrates the many pathways from which we come.  The event, which honors staff and volunteers, was held on March 18, 2016 at PJ Skidoos in Fairfax..

2016 Summer of the Arts Exhibit and Reception Move to New Venue

One of the most anticipated events of the year is Pathway Homes' Summer of the Arts Exhibition and Reception.  Over the last three years the show has become an event to highlight and celebrate the artistic talents of Pathways resident artists.  The most exciting news this year is that the exhibition will enjoy a six-week run.  The show will open on July 6h, and close on August 17th, giving family, friends, supporters, and art lovers even more time to appreciate the talents of the individuals we serve. The extended display is made possible by relocating the Summer of the Arts Exhibition to the Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods, which has a long history of supporting the arts in the community and in Fairfax County.  
A Closer Look at Heroin

By: Eleanor Vincent, EdD, CSAC
Heroin is a drug that belongs to a family of drugs known as opiates.  Opiates are commonly used therapeutically as analgesic (pain-relieving) compounds, and to induce sleep.  These drugs are named opiates because they come from the opium poppy plant or are made synthetically to have similar action, for example morphine, which is the major ingredient in opium. Other commonly abused opiates are Codeine, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Dilaudid. Heroin is currently the most popular opiate of abuse in the United States. In 2011, 4.2 million Americans aged 12 or older had used heroin at least once in their lives. It is estimated that about 23% of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it.  In 2014, heroin and other prescription opiates overdose are reported to have caused more deaths in Virginia than car accidents.
Volunteer Stars Shine Brightly 

On Friday, April 8, 2016, at the Waterford in Springfield, Volunteer Fairfax recognized Pathway Homes' corporate volunteer group, Applied Engineering Management (AEM), as a finalist in the Corporate Volunteer Program category.  Pathways nominated AEM for their exemplary support of the 2015 Help the Homeless Walk held in October.  AEM organized a team of thirteen volunteers from the company which quickly expanded to a group of twenty as the original thirteen employees invited family and friends to join them.
Volunteers from AEM at the Help The Homeless Walk

Pathways Staff Invited to Present at 9th Annual Credible Conference
Lauren Leventhal and Eleanor Vincent on stage in Baltimore
Pathway Homes was offered the opportunity to present during the 9th Annual Credible Partner Conference held this year in Baltimore March 29-31. This was the sixth year in a row that Pathway Homes participated in the conference, which provides a chance for representatives from behavioral health agencies using Credible's electronic health records system to network with colleagues and industry professionals from around the country.  The agenda this year was "Raising the Standard," exploring innovation, modernization and enhancements in behavioral healthcare practice.  More than 450 professionals from 23 states and D.C. were in attendance.
Upcoming Dates to Note
  • April 21:  Steps to Pathways information session at Pathways' administrative office (10-11 a.m.)
  • May 8:  Mother's Day
  • May 19:    Steps to Pathways Benefit Breakfast Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center, Fairfax (8-9:30am)
  • May 30:  Memorial Day - Pathway Homes administrative office will be closed
  • June 11:  Pathways Annual Cookout. *Invitations will go out end of April.
  • June 16:  Steps to Pathways information session at Pathways' administrative office (10-11 a.m.)
  • July 4:  Independence Day - Pathway Homes administrative office will be closed.
  • July 6-August 17:  Summer of the Arts Exhibit at Reston Community Center-Hunters Woods
  • August 6: Summer of the Arts Artists Reception (4-6 p.m.) Reston Community Center-Hunters Woods