The Path Home

Father and daughter rebuild their lives

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.

A difficult road

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—really, 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 that I wouldn’t let my dog sleep on.”

Then he learned the truth. Alena had been left her to live on her own. She had few possessions, basically the clothes on her back and a few odds and ends.
Alena said, “Mom got remarried, and I didn’t like her husband.” Although Alena had qualified for Social Security, somehow she never saw that money. Things went from bad to worse, and soon Alena was on her own.

Getting back on track

Steve invited his daughter to move back to Huntington. Steve also connected Alena with Pathfinder Services. She regained her Social Security benefits. Pathfinder Resource Connection also helped Alena find a new job.
The first job she landed wasn’t the best fit, but with help from a Pathfinder job coach, 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 path home

Pathfinder Community Connections 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 if they have a problem. They have always treated us well, and they really help people in the community.”


If you know people like Steve and Alena whose life has taken a difficult turn, please help them connect with Pathfinder Services. We’re eager to help.