News from Pathway Homes, Inc.July 2016
In This Issue
The Numbers Behind The Ranking
Each year, the Best Nonprofits To Work For evaluation reviews nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status operating in the United States with at least 15 employees. More than 10,000 employees working for the nominated organizations were surveyed!  Pathway Homes ranked 14th among medium sized organizations with 50-249 employees and 31st overall. This month we share the factors that lead to that ranking, and how Pathways employees responded to the surveys.


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Cheerful Service Key to Event Successes

As the Chinese proverb says, "Many hands make light work."  With two significant special events occurring back to back, Pathway Homes relies heavily on a roster of active and committed volunteers to make the work a little lighter. This month our Volunteer Spotlight feature shines on the groups and individuals who helped make these two events spectacular.

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The Power of Pro Bono Service

Anyone who owns a home understands the never-ending list of "to do" items lurking under that magnet on the refrigerator. For Pathway Homes, that is sixty-four "to do" lists with a small, but mighty team of maintenance staff and a limited budget dedicated to this purpose. Fortunately Pathway Homes receives support from many partners and this last quarter was no exception. Two fantastic partners lent their expertise and manpower, and donated materials for two large projects.

Fannie Mae SERVEs Pathways in a BIG Way  

During the week of May 9th, teams of Fannie employees descended on the community with the goal to serve those in need. The effort is part of their Serving, Engaged & Ready Volunteer Employees (SERVE) community service program.  For Pathway Homes, the goal was to focus on the outdoor landscaping work that residents often cannot do themselves. On May 10th, employees split into two teams, accomplishing twice as much work, at two Pathways properties in Springfield.  On May 12th, a third team of Fannie May employees worked at a property in Alexandria.
Family Group Talks About Schizophrenia

The Pathway Homes Family Group met in June to engage in a discussion about schizophrenia, especially new research and treatments that are emerging. The second most requested topic in the November 2015 family survey, this was a much anticipated subject matter. Anita Robinson, LCSW, Pathways Vice President for Clinical Services, led the discussion.  The session ended with an open discussion about the ongoing challenges regarding affordable housing for individuals with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Family members were provided a brief overview of Pathways' ongoing advocacy efforts in this area and encouraged to engage in their own individual and collective advocacy with local and state legislators.

Pathways Briefs: In Other News 

Employee of the Quarter

New Hires
Quick Links...

In Fairfax County, permanent supportive housing has been a key component since day one in our efforts to reduce and end homelessness. In the spring of last year, our Continuum of Care (COC) received $1.2 million in grant funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless individuals in Fairfax County. At the time, it was the largest grant awarded by HUD in the state of Virginia, and one of only 25 such grants across the country. With this additional funding, Pathway Homes, the largest provider of permanent supportive housing in our COC, set out to move an additional 55 men and women out of the woods and off the streets, into their very own homes.

As of July 7th, Pathways has moved 51 new individuals from chronic homelessness into housing, and the last four are in the process of being housed as a result of this HUD award. While each individual has a unique story to tell, they all share some common life experiences; among them are histories of trauma, serious medical conditions, financial instability, and often, self-medication leading to substance abuse. Nevertheless, when given the safety and security of a stable home, we see how their inner strength and resilience guide them to put their lives back on track.

"Brian" is one such example. Now in his mid 50's, Brian left an abusive home as a teenager. A musician, Brian played his instrument for tips in order to eke out a meager income while dealing with unending physical pain, a constant reminder of the auto accident he survived ten years ago. At night, he would return to his encampment in the woods where the two cats he adopted off the street provided a modicum of companionship. Brian had been literally homeless for nearly four years.

Now Brian and his cats, which have been classified as service animals, have moved into their own one-bedroom apartment. Instead of the makeshift solar oven he engineered in the woods, Brian has his own kitchen. Instead of the cold, hard ground, Brian is sleeping in his own bed. Already he has been connected to other available government and community services. These days, Brian is working on his job readiness skills with the hope that one day soon he will be able to return to the workforce. These are the first small but important steps on the path to recovery.

At Pathway Homes, we remain committed to the goal to end homelessness in our community. The ability to continue development of permanent supportive housing will be an important part of the efforts to achieve that goal. Pathway Homes continues to play a critical role, not only in these endeavors, but most importantly, in helping individuals with serious mental illnesses and other co-occurring disorders to live to their full potential.

Sylisa's Signature
Sylisa Lambert-Woodard, EdD, LCSW, LSATP, MAC
President and CEO
In Her Own Words: A Writer's Return from the Elysian Fields 
By 'Buffy Summers'*

It is the business of writers to tell stories to others. It is time for a story, a hell of a story. Of having everything and unexpectedly losing everything and everyone I cared about. My story is one of symphonies of darkness, and light surrounding me. Of pure chaos where resided the good, bad and ugly. Like diamonds, I was subjected to unimaginable pressure. In science, no pressure, no diamonds. I wrapped myself in my writing. On the long dark path I found I could come up with some pretty good stories. Like Hemingway, I observed the vagaries of life and reported them with the cool objectivity of a scientist; all facts and nothing else. Stories based on my experiences and the life I led then, in direct opposition to the one I had some years back, and am presently in the process of recapturing; stories of this remarkable time, horrific and extraordinary at the same time.
2016 Summer of the Arts: View the Exhibit Now - Meet the Artists August 6th

Pathway Homes' Summer of the Arts Exhibition and Reception has become one of the most anticipated agency events each year. This year, the Summer of the Arts Exhibition is hosted by the Reston Community Center (RCC) at Hunter Woods. The show opened on July 6th. Family, friends, supporters, and art lovers will have a full six weeks to appreciate the talents of the individuals we serve. Summer of the Arts will be on display until Wednesday, August 17th. The highlight of the exhibition each year is the Artists' Reception, planned this year for Saturday, August 6th.

Since it began in 2013 the show has become THE event to highlight and celebrate the artistic talents of Pathways resident artists. The number of artists participating, the variety of media and subject matter, and the number of pieces submitted for exhibit grow each year, and this summer's show is no exception.

Annual Steps to Pathways Benefit Breakfast Raises $120K

On May 19th, we hosted our 2nd annual Steps to Pathways Benefit Breakfast at the Stacey C. Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax. The event was a complete sell-out with 185 people in attendance to celebrate the achievements of those we serve, learn about our role in the community, and raise long-term financial support for programs and services.

As a result of the amazing stories shared that morning, and in recognition of the role that Pathway Homes has played in making those recovery stories possible, we raised more than $120,000 in immediate gifts and pledged contributions. Thanks to the generous support of Krafft Services and the Northern Virginia Associations of Realtors, who underwrote the cost of the event, 100% of those funds raised will go to Pathways programs and services.
"Ahoha Ohana Hoaloha" Means Welcome Family and Friends

Pathway Homes' 28th Annual Summer Cookout was held on Saturday, June 11th at Nottaway Park in Vienna.  More than 200 consumers, staff, volunteers, friends and family enjoyed a day of wonderful food, friendship, games and prizes.   This year's luau theme included brightly colored tropical decorations, a surfer's-wave-themed photo backdrop, and paper flower leis for everyone in attendance.

A Closer Look at Mental Health in Hot Weather

By: Eleanor Vincent, EdD, CSAC

Summer is here and the days are longer and hotter! People are spending more time outdoors doing seasonal work, pursuing leisure activities, or simply spending time with friends and family. At the same time, it is important for everyone to take precautions against sun and heat-related problems. Individuals with mental illnesses, especially those on certain types of medications, should take even greater precautions because they are at greater risk of experiencing adverse reactions related to sun exposure, such as dehydration.

Dehydration is a big concern during hot weather. Human beings lose body fluids when they drink too little fluids or sweat excessively. Prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea can also cause dehydration. Common symptoms of dehydration include dry sticky mouth, thirst, few or no tears, headaches, sleepiness or tiredness, dry skin, constipation, unusually dark urine, or less urine than normal (Mayo Clinic, 2011). Severe dehydration can lead to changes to the body's chemistry and can become life threatening if not treated promptly.
Upcoming Dates to Note
  • Now through August 17:  Summer of the Arts Exhibit at Reston Community Center
  • August 6: Summer of the Arts Artists Reception - Reston Community Center (4-6 p.m.)
  • August 18:  Steps to Pathways information session - Pathways' administrative office (10-11 a.m.)
  • September 5:  Labor Day - Pathway Homes administrative office will be closed
  • September 16:  Donor Recognition Reception - Location & time TBA
  • October 20:  Steps to Pathways information session - Pathways' administrative office (10-11 a.m.)
  • October 21:  Wellness Recovery Conference - Ernst Community Cultural Center, Northern Virginia Community College-Annandale Campus (8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
  • October 22:  Help The Homeless Walk 2016 - Fairfax City Hall (9:00 a.m.)