The following was written by Sidra, a Pathways graduate.

I remember when I first joined Pathways to Education.

My mom found a flyer detailing the free bus tickets students in the program would receive. We were a one-income family, so having that help with transportation costs made a big difference for my mom. It also meant that she didn’t have to worry about driving me to school in the mornings after she would get home from her night shifts.

But I benefited from so much more than just the financial support Pathways offered.

I was 15 years old and had already been through a lot of trials and tribulations as a teenager. My middle school life wasn’t all that great. I dealt with a lot of bullying, and as much as I tried to be nice to people and be their friend, I found myself hurt and alone far too often. 

I had yet to establish friends that I could depend on and trust.

I remember turning to Pathways staff for advice and support.I opened up about my struggle to find a group of friends. Talking to Pathways staff helped me realize how much my lack of real, loyal friendship and connection was impacting me.

Sure, I always knew that I wanted to have friends that wouldn’t end up leaving or isolating me from the group, but I never really realized how big of an issue it actually was and how much it was affecting my life. 

But it wasn’t only my personal life that I was struggling with.

My academic life had become an issue as well. Homework didn’t get done and I rarely ever studied for quizzes or tests. I had pretty much given up trying in a lot of aspects in my life. I felt hopeless. 

But Pathways provided a quiet place to work on my homework and, little did I know, their tutoring would end up changing my life. 

The amount of ‘Eureka!’ moments I had with these tutors was astonishing. Sure enough, my grades began to improve.

Soon I was attending Pathways tutoring everyday, because I loved it so much.

And then one day I met a group of students—I was looking around for a place to sit, and I saw a group of people I vaguely remembered from elementary school. 

Though I was shy, Pathways to Education felt really welcoming, so I knew no one there was going to be a bully. 

I approached the group and asked if I could sit with them. From then on, I sat with this group every day. They were very studious and helped me become more driven. I began to work harder and always wanted to do my best. 

To this day, that group of friends that I met at Pathways to Education are my best friends.

Pathways to Education wasn’t just my academic paradise. It was also a safe space where I found my community and made friends. Thanks to their support, I was able to reconnect with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise approached in school. 

There is truly never enough gratitude that I can show towards Pathways to Education. I am grateful for the way they changed my life every single day and I will never forget it.

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