Pathfinder Services Comprehensive Human and Community Development Mon, 22 May 2017 14:33:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pathfinder Services 32 32 2016 Tax Season VITA Program Fri, 05 May 2017 14:41:25 +0000

Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center a NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center recently held an appreciation dinner honoring the outstanding volunteers who made the organization’s free tax preparation program a success. More than 25 people attended the thank you celebration.

2017 was the eighth year for the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and 1242 tax returns were completed free of charge with 872 families qualifying and receiving over $416,000 in Earned Income Tax Credit and a total of over $1.8 million in tax refunds. The Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC, provides tax credits to working adults and families with low or moderate incomes. Money can be used to pay down debts, buy things families need, or can be saved for the future.

“This program is a great benefit to our community and we cannot thank our volunteers enough for their service and dedication. Over 1100 hours of service were given to our community thanks to our 15 volunteers during the 2017 tax season.  We had fewer volunteers this year, but due to their hard work we were still able to provide free tax preparation to over 1200 families in Huntington and surrounding counties,” stated Justin Barker, Director for the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center.

Volunteers who assisted with the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center’s Free Tax Preparation program included John Aleman, Jan Baumgartner, Larry Carr, Tyson Dietrich, Sheryl Glancy, Paul Hammel, Linda Holmes, Bill Horoho, Felix Liu, Leah Ness, Logan Patterson, Amber Prather, Michele Santa, Andy Vaught and Seth Walker. Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center would also like to thank 1st Source Bank, the IRS, Rural LISC and United Way of Huntington for funding the program.

To sign up to volunteer in 2018 or for more information on the Free Tax Preparation program, contact:

Kristy Wall
(260) 355-2510

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12th Annual Kids Kampus Turkey Trot Thu, 20 Apr 2017 16:09:46 +0000

Register for the 13th Annual Turkey Trot below!

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Pathfinder Services Dream Fund: Steve and Caleb Mon, 17 Apr 2017 15:16:27 +0000

Steve and Caleb both had dreams of going to a Fort Wayne Mad Ants game. After reaching out to Lake City Bank and the Mad Ants, we decided that we could turn this dream into a memorable evening including several individuals who are served by Pathfinder Services. Watch the video to see how this dream came to fruition! And please consider donating so that future dreams can come true.

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Brendan: The Difference Pathfinder Services Made Fri, 31 Mar 2017 11:00:49 +0000

His Story

Every mother’s biggest dream is for her child to be healthy and normal, and when that dream doesn’t come true, she must learn to create the best possible life for her child. And for Ruby, that journey has been just a little bit easier because of the help offered through Pathfinder Services.

Ruby’s son Brenden was just three days old when he suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on his left side. At the age of one, he had his first seizure, and when he was two, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It wasn’t the future she envisioned for her son, and certainly a part of her grieved the loss of what she dreamed about, but with a very determined spirit, she picked herself up and moved forward to give Brenden the best life possible.

Now seventeen years old, Brenden still lives at home with Ruby and his younger brother, Hunter. Despite the doctor’s predictions that he would never walk, he did learn to walk, and his mom has hope that over time, he may learn other skills that he hasn’t yet achieved.

Brenden was enrolled in Kids Kampus until he passed the maximum age to attend, and the staff worked hard to give him the environment he needed to thrive. They helped him find a balance between interacting with other kids and having the quiet space he needed when he felt over-stimulated. They also helped him learn basic skills, like the alphabet.

When Brenden’s younger brother, Hunter, came along, Ruby had the option to send him elsewhere, but Brenden’s experience at Kids Kampus had been so positive, she wanted Hunter to have the same opportunity. Though Hunter’s needs were very different, the overall benefit was the same. Kids Kampus gave Hunter the environment he needed, which was the chance to interact with kids of all abilities. That helped him make lifelong friendships and prepared for school.

Ruby appreciates the investment the staff has made in Brenden, getting to know him as well as she does, protecting him and advocating for him, even though he communicates in ways that don’t involve words.

Ruby knows life for her family would look very different today without the support and love of the staff at Pathfinder Services. She knows one day, the physical toll of caring for Brenden by herself will be too much and he will need to transition into a home provided by Pathfinder Community Supports, but for now, she loves the bond they share and the chance she has to care for him herself. She sometimes wonders what he would be like as a teenager without disabilities, but she knows that this path is the one he was meant to take, and she loves him for who he is. She’s thankful he has had the chance to be more than she dreamed, thanks to the people of Pathfinder Services.

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Kids Kampus Premiere Preschool Thu, 30 Mar 2017 19:06:31 +0000

You are looking for a safe, secure “home away from home” where your child can learn, play, and grow. We have designed a nurturing, creative world for infants and toddlers to help their minds and bodies develop.

Premiere Preschool gives your child the jump start on kindergarten they deserve. Improved social skills, problem solving, and reaching important developmental milestones are just some of the great reasons to enroll your child today.

To enroll your child or ask questions, please call Kids Kampus at (260) 356-0123. You can also stop in at 435 Campus Street Huntington, Indiana 46750.

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Diana’s Art Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:00:21 +0000

Diana Gentis became a part of the Pathfinder Services family when the world was a much different place.  Even just 25 years ago, the options for those with disabilities to receive adequate care and be a part of their community were few and far between.

She remembers vividly no longer attending school in the 3rd grade because she was not keeping up with the other children.  What wasn’t identified at the time was that Diana could not hear or see well. It wasn’t until after she was a part of Pathfinder Services that her caregiver noticed she was not responding when he would speak to her.  After getting her glasses and hearing aid, Tom asked her to read a word in a book.  With pride and a big smile on her face she said, “I read the word.”

Another of her first memories with Pathfinder Services is of helping to calm a crying infant while volunteering in the child care room at State Street.  Fast forward 20 years and Diana now has the opportunity to be self-employed by selling her acrylic paintings, jean purses, and knitted baby hats she creates during her time spent at Creative Abilities.  Diana’s art, The Spring Path, was even featured and auctioned off at the 2015 Pathfinder Services Annual Dinner. This was an event that made a big difference in her life. She’s quick to tell you about the money she received and has stashed away for a possible trip to visit family.  But even more important is the amount of pride in her voice when she talks about being a part of the evening. “I was nervous going to that dinner. But it was a nice time.  I talked with a lot of different people and I even got $200 for my painting.”

Diana has also found a home with Pathfinder Services.  After living with various family members and in other group homes, Diana now resides at her Ash Street Front Porch home where she has her own front porch, bedroom and fully accessible bathroom.  She also has faith in the staff who care for her, often going for walks and shopping at Walmart with her direct support professional.

Although the path was winding and full of bumps for Diana, she eventually found a safe and comfortable place with Pathfinder Services.  A place where she can live and be a part of the community.  A place where she has trust in the staff who care for her. And a place where she can flourish though her works of art.

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Rebecca’s Dream of Independence Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:00:51 +0000

Her Story

When Rebecca Jackson finished high school in 2007, she had dreams of living a more independent life — close to the family she loved and surrounded by friends who cared for her.

Rebecca had big dreams and Pathfinder Community Supports helped Rebecca achieve her dreams by helping her find housing and live more independently. Rebecca is thriving in her new life.

Rebecca’s dream of independence began after she completed high school. Unsure of where to turn, Rebecca was referred to Pathfinder Services so she could find a group home while maintaining close family relationships. Pathfinder Services helped Rebecca locate housing in Knox, where she lives with seven other people and a caregiver who maintains safety and provides help for the residents. Life in the group home is much like a large family for Rebecca, giving her social connections as well as independence. Because Rebecca thrives in social environments, the group home allows her to stay connected with people while making decisions for herself. “Rebecca counts on Pathfinder Services for the support that she needs to live independently,” Kris says.

Kris Myers, a Qualified Developmental Disability Professional, says that choices like getting new glasses and haircuts are important for Rebecca because they are things she can do for herself. Kris helps Rebecca create goals by asking her a series of questions and then devising steps to help Rebecca live a fuller, more satisfying life. “[I ask] what specific things do you want to achieve? What can we help you with?”

About a year ago, Rebecca began employment as a janitor at the Starke County Chamber of Commerce, a role that allows her to engage with people in the community. On the job, Kris says Rebecca is a “firecracker, hilarious, and a lot of fun. She is absolutely great to have around.”

All this support has allowed Rebecca’s positive, upbeat personality to flourish, while she lives the life she dreamed of after high school. Pathfinder Services helped Rebecca’s vibrant spirit shine even brighter by providing her with a home, guidance, and stability to maintain a job and live independently.

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Kim’s Perseverance Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:00:00 +0000

Her Story

Kim Mowery knows the value of hard work. She excels not only at one, but two jobs. Kim appreciates her steady employment, but she also faces daily challenges due to an intellectual disability. Transportation and assistance with daily living are keys to her independent lifestyle.

That’s why Kim looks to Pathfinder Community Supports for help. Maintaining her current lifestyle and friendships are important for Kim, especially because her work relationships are so valuable. “I really like the people I work with, and my boss is awesome.”

Kim’s loyalty to her employers shows in her long track record. Her work experience includes 30 years at ARC of Wabash County, where she does shredding and piecework, and 24 years at Vernon Manor Children’s Home doing laundry. Kim has a special heart for her co-workers and appreciates the stability of a consistent job. “You can go at your own pace as long as you do your job,” she adds.

But Kim needs additional support at home with financial goals and responsibility. Pathfinder Community Supports provides Kim with the accountability she needs to manage her money, complete daily errands, and meet her goals. “They make sure my bills are paid, my rent is paid, groceries, and doctors appointments. It makes you feel good when you get all your bills and rent [paid].”

Kim makes her home in Wabash, where she has lived all her life. It’s no surprise that she likes to be out in the community, enjoying sporting events and even participating in past Special Olympics games. “I know a lot of people here in Wabash. I usually go out with my friends. We go out to eat or watch a movie or go to baseball games.”

Kim appreciates the support that Pathfinder Services have provided for her and recommends it to others with disabilities. “Jobs are hard to find right now…They help [a person] find a job. Just keep your head up and do what [you] can do.”

Because of Kim’s upbeat attitude and persistence at tasks, she maintains an independent lifestyle that keeps her connected to important relationships in the community. “It makes me feel good because…I just like being around my friends.” With two jobs and an active social life, Kim relies on Pathfinder Services to help her achieve her goals while living independently.

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Alena’s Journey Fri, 17 Mar 2017 11:00:26 +0000

Her Story

When his mother died in 2008, Steve Douglas wanted his daughter, Alena, to be at her grandmother’s funeral. But he hadn’t seen Alena in three years. Alena’s mother had custody, and Steve didn’t want a court battle. So, he drove to the town of the last-known address he had for Alena. “I couldn’t find her,” he said. “But someone told me she had a job at a local restaurant, so I went there.” They talked after her shift, and slowly began to rebuild their relationship.

When Steve discovered where Alena had been living, he could hardly believe his eyes. “She was living in really bad, bad conditions,” Steve said. “She was living in an old abandoned trailer, heated with only a small kerosene heater. It didn’t have doors on the bedroom or bathroom, and she was sleeping on an old dirty couch.” Then he learned the truth: Alena had been living on her own. She had few possessions — basically the clothes on her back and a few odds and ends.

Steve invited his daughter to move back to Huntington. Steve also connected Alena with Pathfinder Services, and she soon regained her Social Security benefits. Pathfinder Resource Connection also helped Alena find a new job. The first job she acquired wasn’t the best fit, but with help from the Pathfinder Resource Connection staff, Alena was soon able to find another position. The second job, in an environment better suited to her personality, has worked out well.

“I’m a very friendly person,” Alena said. “So when I started working at the high school food service, I felt a weight fall off my shoulders. I became a different person.” Her new job allows Alena to interact with staff and students, letting her personality blossom. She loves working in the kitchen and on the food line.

The Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center also helped Steve and Alena both improve their credit so they could get approved for a house. Their new home is titled in Alena’s name, and she makes the payments. That way, Steve knows that if anything happens to him, Alena will be taken care of.

“If it wasn’t for getting my credit straightened out, if it wasn’t for Pathfinder Services, we would not be homeowners,” he says. “I tell people to go talk to Pathfinder Services if they have a problem. They have always treated us well, and they really help people in the community.”

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Space & Accessibility for Maddie Thu, 16 Mar 2017 21:46:11 +0000

For most families, the prospect of buying a home is daunting, but exciting. They look forward to going to see homes and picking out the perfect fit for them. For Ian and Sarah Kennedy, the prospect of buying a home was simultaneously critical and impossible.Ian and Sarah’s sixteen-year-old daughter Maddie has disabilities and was struggling in their small three-bedroom apartment that was not accessible. She couldn’t even get into some rooms, including the kitchen, which limited the activities the family could do together. And because they rented the apartment, they couldn’t make any physical changes to the property.

Of course they dreamed of moving, but it seemed a financial impossibility, since they were living on one income. Then the apartment complex was sold and the neighborhood deteriorated quickly. Ian and Sarah knew they had to do something to improve the quality of life for Maddie and improve the safety for all of them, but they didn’t know what to do.That’s when they contacted the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center. The staff listened to their story and encouraged them to pursue homeownership. They were pleasantly shocked to find they could not only afford to own a home, but their mortgage payment would be $150 less than their rent payment.

The staff at the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center kept an open line of communication with Ian and Sarah, giving them realistic time estimates, and dealing with them pleasantly throughout all their many questions.
The new house has plenty of room for Maddie to get around in her wheelchair, and they even have enough room to invite friends and family over, which was something they’d never been able to do in their apartment. They are looking forward to the holidays: their first Christmas in their new home. They’ll even be able to put up lights outside!

The Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center made the impossible a reality, and a family is now able to function and live in safety for the first time in years!

The staff at the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center kept an open line of communication with Ian and Sarah, giving them realistic time estimates, and dealing with them pleasantly throughout all their many questions.
The new house has plenty of room for Maddie to get around in her wheelchair, and they even have enough room to invite friends and family over, which was something they’d never been able to do in their apartment. They are looking forward to the holidays: their first Christmas in their new home. They’ll even be able to put up lights outside!

The Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center made the impossible a reality, and a family is now able to function and live in safety for the first time in years!


How Can the HomeOwnership Center Help You?

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