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PRESS RELEASE

VISIONS AND PATHWAYS HONORS COMMUNITY LEADERS AT 3RD ANNUAL SPARK! GALA


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Danielle Radigan.

908-526-6605 ext. 313;

Visions and Pathways Honors Community Leaders at 3rd Annual Spark! Gala

Funds Raised Will Help Provide More Programs and Services for Vulnerable Youth Including Those Aging Out of Foster Care

Bridgewater, N.J. (June 13, 2017) – Visions and Pathways (visionsandpathways.org), a nonprofit agency that helps youth throughout New Jersey, hosted its 3rd Annual Spark! Gala: A Hopeful Future for Youth” at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park. The event raised over $58,000 to support the agency’s programs including; outreach and prevention services (which combat the opioid epidemic and help human trafficking victims), temporary housing, arts and recreation, counseling, life skills training, scholarships and more. Since 1970, over 9,000 youth have benefitted from the organization’s work.

David Walker, CEO and executive director of Visions and Pathways, opened with remarks discussing the mission of Visions and Pathways. “We are increasing our emphasis on prevention, fighting the opioid epidemic through aggressive street outreach and in-home support and strengthening our services for aged-out youth.”

Calvin and Celeste (two of the agency’s youth whose names have been changed to protect their confidentiality) were the featured speakers. Before coming to Visions and Pathways, Calvin experienced a turbulent childhood living with his father in an impoverished city in California. Because of a crisis in his father’s house, he was forced to live with his mother in New Jersey. Since birth, his mother made it clear that she did not want him to stay with her and rejected him when he arrived from California. Homeless, unemployed and with no support, he was at risk of not graduating high school and becoming mired in a world of drugs and crime. Fortunately, he connected with Visions and Pathways Street Smart outreach program and eventually moved into the agency’s group home for young men. Today, he is excelling in school, gainfully employed and making better choices. He will begin college in the autumn of 2017.

Celeste, a self-proclaimed “crack baby,” spoke about her lifelong struggles. She endured physical and sexual abuse by family members and strangers. She experienced many failed placements with foster families and was living in a shelter when she first learned about Visions and Pathways. With help from Visions and Pathways’ prosperity life skills program, Celeste is working, enrolled in business school and living in an apartment that is subsidized through the agency’s Village House program.

The evening included a cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner and an awards ceremony. The honorees included: AT&T/AT&T Pioneers (Corporate Partner); Shake Shack Bridgewater (Community Partner); Stan Prater (Community Leader); and Bonnie Hodge (Dedicated Volunteer).

Visons and Pathways clients Kyla and Matthew were honored as recipients of the Lisa A. Warren Scholarship. *Iremede (a human trafficking victim whose name is changed to protect her safety) was honored as the AT&T

Pioneers scholarship recipient; presented by Suzanne Balian from the AT&T Pioneers. The scholarships recognize academic achievement and commitment to community service.

Walt Kane, from News 12 NJ, served as the Master of Ceremony. AT&T, First Energy/Jersey Central Power and Light, and Hartford Funds were the Silver Sponsors; Nisivoccia, DACS Inc, and Erin and Michael DeLoreto were the Patron Sponsors.

About Visions and Pathways

Incorporated in 1970, Visions and Pathways is dedicated to meeting the needs of abused, neglected, missing, homeless and at-risk youth and their families. The agency’s program include: Street Smart street outreach, Prosperity independent living skills, Brahma House residential crisis intervention, transitional-living/long-term group homes; the Transitional Learning Center (TLC) for in-house education instruction and tutoring; Bridge House and Village House (which provide supportive-housing for young adults who have aged-out of the foster care system), arts and recreation, scholarships and Transitions aftercare to continue providing emotional support for youth who have been discharged from a Visions and Pathways program.

For more information about Visions and Pathways, please contact David Walker., Esq, MSW, CEO/Executive Director at (908)526-6605 ext. 304.

Visit online at: visionsandpathways.org. and streetsmartoutreach.org

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