Shelly Wolanske, first came to PathStone as a participant in the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program. A single mother who works two jobs to support her teenage son, Shelly completed the PathStone Homebuyer Education Program and individual sessions regarding debt reduction and credit counseling. With PathStone’s help, she received a USDA-subsidized mortgage and an Acquisition Rehabilitation Grant from Affordable Housing Corp., which allowed for repairs to her home, including a new furnace and roof. Shelly is a success story of an individual who was persistent in completing her goals and overcoming barriers to achieve her dreams.
After 15 years working on farms, Felipe Lupian had a strong desire to create a better life for his wife, Maria, and their three children. He came to PathStone with the goal of obtaining his Commercial Driver’s License. PathStone staff helped Felipe find and prepare for admission to a CDL class taught in Spanish, but it was 110 miles away. Not one to be deterred, Felipe requested double classes so he could finish early and begin his new career. He passed his test on the first try and found a job at a plant transporting food, increasing his salary by 66 percent.
Diana Olvera’s parents traveled from Mexico to Pennsylvania seeking farmwork to better provide for their family. PathStone’s Migrant Head Start Program allowed Diana’s parents to go to work knowing their children were in a secure, nurturing environment. Diana founded the Murals Uniting Minds Program and was chosen as lead artist for the National Art Honor Society, Mural Arts Program and Eisenhower Elementary Library Mural. A recipient of numerous academic scholarships and art awards, Diana now attends the Maryland Institute College of Art and credits PathStone’s Head Start Program for her success.
Arlene Gado came from the Philippines to America on a work contract to provide nanny services for three children for $8 an hour. Upon her arrival in California, she was taken to New Jersey, where her Passport and Visa were taken away. She was told not to leave the house because or she would be arrested. Arlene was forced to provide continuous care to an incapacitated male, clean, cook and give massages, manicures and pedicures. Paid $250 a month, in 2006 she began caring for an infant for an extra $75 a month. Arlene was able to place a call to her aunt, who called officials. The Division of Criminal Justice contacted PathStone to help remove Arlene from the home and provide her with services. The trafficker pleaded guilty to criminal restraint charges and was ordered to pay Arlene $78,000. Arlene, who now works in an office, received her work authorization and will able to apply for Visa in 2008.
Through a series of events, in the autumn of 2005 Irene Ross found herself homeless, living in a camper without heat. With winter fast approaching, she heard about PathStone and attended an information session about our Homebuyer Education Program. Irene went through the program and received training, counseling and guidance from PathStone. She was then approved by the USDA for a subsidized mortgage and received down payment assistance from Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. With the help of PathStone, Irene found a home in the town of Gaston to call her own.
Rose Mary Grant came to PathStone as a farmworker. Through the years, she has worked for PathStone as a training and employment specialist, literacy coordinator and in an office. Rose Mary was a resident Carlken Manor before PathStone purchased and rehabilitated the development into Heritage Meadows. After going through PathStone’s Homebuyer Education Program, she purchased a home in Medina. PathStone’s rehabilitation program staff renovated the house, putting on new siding and a new roof. In addition, PathStone’s Home Energy Solutions helped her obtain a refrigerator. Today, Rose Mary works as a customer service representative, providing mortgage assistance to customers.
Francisco Chavez, his wife, Duvis Lopez, and the couple’s four children enjoy a safer and warmer home less expensive to maintain than in years past thanks to help from PathStone’s Housing Rehabilitation and Energy Services Program. With assistance from two housing programs administered by PathStone in Brighton and Monroe County, the Chavez family was able to complete much-needed housing repairs and increase home energy efficiency. Repairs included roof replacement, electric safety upgrades, plumbing repairs and attic insulation. Francisco, a medical research technician, and Duvis, an artist, settled in the Rochester area after moving to the U.S. from Colombia in 2001. The Chavez family is pleased these repairs no longer threaten their modest family budget
Rafael Hernadez is a man who always has had a positive attitude toward life. Born in Mexico, he came to the United States to follow the American Dream. Overcoming many difficulties, including a language barrier and not having a place to live, Rafael worked hard and felt he had accomplished his dreams. Although his lifestyle was good, Rafael wanted more and came to PathStone for help in finding a new job. Today, Rafael works for a railroad company, and for the first time in his life receives paid vacation. His next goal is to buy his first home.
Norman Brown had worked on a dairy farm for eight years, but after suffering a head injury that could cause seizures he no longer felt that he could continue this work. After receiving a clean bill of health to return to work, he contacted PathStone. Norman wanted, but could not afford, training at a technical center. After receiving career counseling, PathStone was able to place Norman in the training program of his choice, as well as assist him with the cost. Today, he is a full-time school custodian, earning $23,000 a year.
When Rachel Davis was a child, she wanted to be a nurse like her aunt. Out of work and money, in debt and the mother of two small children, Rachel continued to yearn for a profession like nursing to lead her out of poverty. She came to PathStone for help with finances and career planning. She completed a medical secretarial course, but finding a full-time was harder than expected. Rachel fell behind in rent and other financial obligations. PathStone’s Supported Work Program staff helped Rachel prioritize her problems, working with her to tackle overdue bills, develop a budget and gain job preparation skills. Rachel found employment with a vascular surgical team, which provides her with benefits and a livable wage.
Ever since they were toddlers, Ernesto Castenada and his two brothers have been a part of PathStone’s Migrant Head Start Program. PathStone staff have watched him mature into an outgoing, eager learner always willing to learn and help others. Ernesto’s father is an active member at the center, serving on our parent board and volunteering in the classroom whenever he can. His mother participates in center activities and enjoys being a part of all the program has to offer. When Ernesto grows up, he wants to be a doctor. We are confident he will reach his goal.
Fanny Rojas, a young mother of three, wanted to create a better life for her family while escaping an environment of domestic violence. Her goals were to enter college, get a job with the state that would afford her opportunities for growth, lose 100 pounds, purchase a car, improve her credit status and enter PathStone’s Homebuyer Education Program. Fanny has completed every one of these goals and surpassed several. She has lost 110 pounds, is a corrections officer, purchased a new car, completed PathStone’s Self-Sufficiency Program and is wrapping up her college degree. She also completed the homebuyer class and is participating in the Savers Program to assist with down payment costs.
William Fankhauser is a 66-year-”young” individual who has suffered some health issues affecting his ability to stand for long periods of time. He needed to obtain a job where he would be off his feet for the majority of time. Meanwhile, his passion for driving had come to a standstill because of the escalating cost of gasoline. PathStone staff found a perfect job for William-transporting people to appointments. William has since obtained an apartment closer to his new job and loves his daily routine of earning a paycheck and being sociable while off his feet.
When Len Hainlen first heard about PathStone’s program that provides free technical assistance to growers who need to upgrade farmworker housing, he gave a sigh of relief. Len, a second-generation apple cultivator and orchard owner, had growing concerns about the migrant housing on his orchard. The old cabin-style housing was showing its age, and the Indiana State Board of Health was suggesting Len replace it. Two years later, Len and his migrant workers are celebrating the new housing units that have been constructed using CDBG grant funds awarded from Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.
Felix Cartagena Bonilla came to the U.S. seeking opportunities to support his family. Earning $6 an hour as a mushroom picker didn’t provide enough. Felix wanted to earn more and contribute to the community, but his lack of English proficiency was a seemingly insurmountable barrier. Working with PathStone staff, Felix developed a course of action to prepare himself for employment, including the Training & Employment Program, as well as the Job Readiness Training Program. Displaying the drive, motivation and determination needed for success, Felix found a job with a kitchen and bath company earning $9 an hour plus overtime
Randy and Liz Tauscher could only dream about owning a home. Due to a work-related injury, Randy has difficulty walking, especially up and down stairs. So, for 22 years, the Tauschers lived in a two-bedroom apartment that made it easy for Randy to move around. But they wanted more for their daughters, Cathaline, 21, and Caitlin, 11; and dog, Lady. The Tauschers were amazed when they learned that with the help of PathStone’s Homeownership Program they could qualify for a USDA-subsidized mortgage and an Acquisition Rehabilitation Grant from New York State Affordable Housing Corp. to make repairs and renovations to accommodate Randy’s disability. Today, the Tauschers are living their dream in a 2,400-square-foot home in Clifton Springs. The home even has a master bedroom and bathroom on the first floor and a backyard deck with railings.
Mario & Maria Hinojosa purchased their home four years ago with a locked mortgage in the small community of Hamler. But soon after, the family began experiencing problems when Mario had to reapply for his work authorization card. Forced to use their life savings, the family fell behind on their mortgage. At the same time, Mario’s employer was cutting hours for the winter, and the Hinojosas faced foreclosure. The family fell into a foreclosure scam, and their home was sold. The family contacted PathStone’s Foreclosure Prevention Program. PathStone worked to help the family save their home, but it was already in redemption. Then, PathStone referred the family to organizations that could provide them with legal assistance. Granted forbearance, the family was able be able to keep their home. PathStone provided the Hinojasas with Ohio Rescue funds, which helped keep their mortgage payment low.
Treva Long is a 25-year-old single mother of a 2-year-old son, Devon. After being referred to PathStone’s Homeownership Program, Treva committed to buying the first home PathStone would build in a new-home construction project in Anderson. Despite being a young mother holding down two jobs in different cities, Treva successfully completed PathStone’s Homebuyer Education Program and all of the requirements to be pre-approved for a mortgage. All was going well until Treva lost her full-time job because of layoffs. Knowing she was determined to immediately find work, PathStone staff agreed to give Treva time to find another job so she could still have the home for which she already had hand-picked the lights, floor covering, appliances and siding. Treva came through with a new job and was pre-approved again by the bank after only one month at her new job. Shortly thereafter, Treva closed on her brand-new home.
At 74 years young, Franklin Harrison lives life to the fullest. Since 1990, he has resided at PathStone’s Andrews Terrace in Rochester, N.Y. When his neighbors need a ride, they call Franklin. Franklin enjoys transporting folks around town and even does the grocery shopping for neighbors who need his help. Franklin takes people to doctor’s appointments and picks up their prescriptions. He also drives people to visit their loved ones in nursing homes and hospitals. In addition, Franklin monitors his neighbors by calling on several folks each day just to make sure they are OK. Andrews Terrace just wouldn’t be the same without Franklin
Heidi Salazar-Diaz has been with PathStone’s Migrant Head Start Program since she was a toddler. We have watched her grow into a beautiful, intelligent young girl. Her winning smile has captured all of us. Heidi was very eager to learn and loved to come to school, always participating graciously in any activities her teachers would give her. While at school, she enjoyed painting and helping others. When she grows up, she wants to be a “star or rainbow in the sky!” We think that means she has big plans for herself, and we have no doubt she will succeed in whatever she decides to do. Since our last season has ended, Heidi’s mother enrolled her in kindergarten. Upon registration and testing, the school discovered that Heidi is far more advanced than other children her age and entered her directly into first grade. Everyone is so proud of this achievement because if it were not for her years in PathStone’s Migrant Head Start Program, Heidi may not have achieved such success. Not only has Heidi learned English with our program, but she gained all of the knowledge needed to jump ahead a grade. This is only the beginning for Heidi. With her outgoing personality, eagerness to learn and hard work, she will be that star in the sky.
Priscilla Martinez walked into PathStone’s Fremont office seeking food assistance. After talking with our staff, Priscilla said she wanted to learn more about our Training & Employment Program. One of Priscilla’s biggest barriers was that she had never held a job outside of the fields. However, she had just obtained her GED and was interested in going to school to learn how to be a phlebotomist. Priscilla was referred to the Vanguard-Sentinel Career Center and enrolled in phlebotomy classes. PathStone provided her with an hourly stipend while she attended classes full time, as well as assistance with travel expenses, a uniform and supplies she needed to complete her clinical work at a Fremont Memorial Hospital. After receiving a certificate for completing the program, Priscilla continued working at Fremont Memorial Hospital, where she is now making $10.80 per hour.
After losing his farm job and farm housing, Joseph Donna Jr. of Cambridge was anxious of what would become of him, his wife and their three children. Joseph’s desire was to be a truck driver, and when he heard about PathStone and the training we offer through financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, he contacted us. PathStone paid Joseph’s CDL course tuition and expenses associated with commuting to the training. Highly motivated, Joseph attended his CDL training, even when he had outpatient surgery. Today, Joseph is a successful truck driver with a fine home for his family.
Maria Ramos is married and a mother of three. She and her husband had been struggling to make ends meet. The money they earned from doing farmwork was not enough. Maria’s brother, who is a truck driver, told her about PathStone, so she decided to come to our office to get help in obtaining a CDL so she could drive with her brother. PathStone sent Maria to truck driving school, where she completed 10 weeks of training in a record time of four weeks. Maria’s instructor praised her for her intelligence and attitude. She was the only woman in her class of 10. Maria has been driving now for eight months, Tuesdays through Sundays, going to places like North Carolina, Wisconsin and Chicago. Her earnings have increased so much that she and her brother are contemplating buying a truck together. Driving a truck is a hard job, but Maria is making this sacrifice to better the lives of her children.
Johann Santiago came to PathStone’s Training and Employment Office with a plan. His goal was to find a good paying job, preferably utilizing his forklift driving skills, and save money so he could bring his girlfriend and soon-to-be born son from Puerto Rico to New Jersey. Jobs were scarce in his hometown of Yauco, so he made the trip to New Jersey to work the blueberry season with the hopes of finding something permanent. He would not accept the idea of not being able to provide for his family. With the help of PathStone, Johann passed his forklift certification and started a new job, earning $11 an hour. His bosses say they rely on Johann. He has since brought his girlfriend to New Jersey, and their first child, Johann Jr., was born. Johann told PathStone that he and his family are now living the American Dream
Adalberto Rodriguez Velez heard about the services provided to farmworkers by PathStone from an aunt who had received services from us. A seasonal farmworker, Adalberto’s economic situation was critical. Living with his mother and grandmother, the family had experienced a sharp increase in utility expenses. Quickly, the PathStone staff in Adjuntas gave Adalberto the right tools to be prepared for better job opportunities through its Job Readiness Training Program. In less than two weeks, Adalberto was interviewed by Genesis Security Inc. He was hired a few days later. Today, Adalberto is very proud to work full time and have a steady income. His mother and grandmother feel great pride for Adalberto because their family life and economic situation have greatly improved, changing their lives forever.
Emanuel Carraballo is a young man who lives in Yauco, a small, rural community. His goal as a PathStone Farmworker Youth participant in 2004 was to establish his own business so he could help support his family and better himself economically. After graduating from high school, Emanuel took the barber shop course at the Universidad Del Este in Yauco. He also enrolled in PathStone’s Microenterprise Assistance Program. After developing a business plan, he submitted it to The PathStone Enterprise Center and was approved for a start-up loan at a low-interest rate. His barber shop in Rio Prieto de Yauco has been established now for four years. Emanuel has been able to dramatically change his economic status and help his family prosper. He says that PathStone made it possible for him to own his own business.
When Sheldon Greene of Poughkeepsie first joined PathStone’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program, she was trying to provide for two small children and a sick elderly parent on an annual salary of $11,000. At the time, her three biggest hurdles in life were lack of child care, unreliable transportation and a low paying job. However, with the support of the PathStone staff and her own determination, Sheldon successfully tripled her income, replaced her old, unreliable automobile and completed the PathStone Homeownership program. Sheldon purchased a two-family house, which also will provide rental income for her family.
When Ivette Munoz of Poughkeepsie found PathStone’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program, she was attending college in hopes of becoming a school teacher. However, she had many challenges, including a lack of reliable transportation, affordable child care and a low income, all of which she needed to overcome in order to achieve her dream. With PathStone’s help, Ivette persevered, and within four years finished not only her bachelor’s degree, but also her master’s degree. Today, Ivette is a high school English teacher. And her desire to help “inner-city kids realize their fullest potential” was finally realized.
Battling health issues, Roland Cook and his fiancé, Teresa, who was 6 months pregnant, had lost their apartment and found themselves homeless. Wanting something better than city life, they went to Albion, where they found themselves living in a tent behind a farmhouse whose owners hadn’t moved in yet. On rainy days or nights, they would stay in abandoned houses or under a bridge, which is where a representative of the Orleans County Department of Social Services found them and introduced them to PathStone. Roland recalls how relieved they were to find PathStone’s VISIONS Transitional Housing Program, a solution to their housing dilemma. When they had asked for help from other agencies, the couple was told they would have to split up, which was not an option for them. Roland credited the staff at VISIONS with giving him confidence. Now married, the couple has welcomed the arrival of their son, Micheal Danial J. Cook, and are living in other PathStone-owned housing. Roland said he looks forward to utilizing more PathStone programs to help him “build a foundation for a life.”
When Barbara Hollenbeck enrolled in the Senior Community Services Employment Program run by PathStone in Herkimer County, she had an extensive background in business and food services management. Health reasons had forced Barbara to give up her full-time career. Her new goal was to find part-time employment. Assigned to Catholic Charities as a transportation dispatcher, Barbara excelled at her job and was quickly promoted to emergency assistance coordinator. Her new responsibilities included interviewing clients to determine their need of emergency assistance. Once again, she was recognized for her hard work. In March, Catholic Charities hired Barbara as a permanent part-time employee and promoted her to food stamp coordinator.