Pathways helping people reach goals

August 4, 2018

Pathways Program, offered by the North Hills Community Outreach to residents north of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, including Allison Park, provides the guidance and encouragement needed for individuals who are having a hard time achieving important life-changing goals.

For many people experiencing certain challenges in their lives, getting a job, education, or buying a home or car can be a daunting task, according to Abigail Reed, an NHCO Pathway service coordinator.

The free Pathways program helps them achieve what’s important to them by establishing smaller, doable steps, she said.

“It’s a great way to have someone in your corner who can support you. It helps break down those goals into smaller goals,” said Reed, who’s been working with Pathways since October.

The long-term case management plan helps people become more self-sufficient.

Reed works out of the Millvale office, but the program is also offered in McKeesport, Bellevue, and Allison Park.

Qualifications to the program include being a resident of northern Allegheny County, at least 18 years old, and live in a household where the income is no more than 125 percent of the federal income poverty guidelines, according to Reed.

Key areas of the program helps create long- and short-term action plans, gain access to services and resources needed to achieve the goal, help gain skills and knowledge to acquire self-sufficiency, and provide encouragement and support, according to the NHCO Pathways website.

Carolyn Pschirer, director of services at the NHCO office in Allison Park, said it really helps people who are in a “constant crisis mode” and need guides on becoming self-sufficient. Perhaps some are overcome with dealing with struggles that go along with illnesses or caring for a disabled child. And it can even be cultural, she said.

It does take some work and commitment.

“They have to have a desire to achieve self-sufficiency. We have had lots of successes,” said Pschirer. “We celebrate mild successes and accomplishments.”

She said there are pockets of poverty throughout Allegheny County, even in North Hills.

Reed said roadblocks like rent, taxes and bills get in the way of focusing on taking steps toward big goals. Enhancing budgeting skills would be a key goal for some.

Or if a participant has a job interview, Pathways support helps them obtain appropriate clothing attire, check for reliable transportation to the interview, and make childcare arrangements, if necessary.

They are a personal cheerleader, said Reed. And they tailor a plan to each individual. Some may need to visit her office every week, others need support over a long-term. She said they are required to see her at least one a month.

“It’s a very easy program to be enrolled in,” said Reed.

The program is funded partly by a grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, according to the NHCO website.

If anyone would like to visit the Allison Park office, or any other sites, call Reed at 412-307-0069 or just walk-in. Also, visit nhco.org.

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