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Stories of Impact

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Mr. Smiddy

Program Participant

Path of Life is a proud partner in working to secure permanent housing for homeless veterans. We played a key role in helping Riverside County reach the milestone achievement as the nation’s first large county to end homelessness among veterans. We have offered supportive services to many veterans over the years, including Mr. Smiddy, an Air Force Veteran who was evicted from his home after experiencing an unexpected financial hardship.

Mr. Smiddy first came to Path of Life as a guest of our Community Shelter. He requested services from our Behavioral Health program when he discovered all of his belongings had been removed from his prior residence.  This only added to the trauma of his situation as he thought all of his personal items had been lost. The Behavioral Health program was able to offer Mr. Smiddy assistance through crisis intervention and emotional support. They were also able to locate the residence where his belongings were being stored and negotiated a time for pick up.  Path of Life provided Mr. Smiddy a U-Haul truck and a local storage unit to hold his personal belongings while awaiting permanent housing.

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Stephanie

Residential Services Staff Lead

Stephanie started with Path of Life as a behavior health intern in January 2017, through our partnership program with local universities. She quickly realized being a part of this organization was her calling and especially enjoyed her work at the Community Shelter. When Stephanie graduated in January 2018, she didn’t want her internship to end and had expressed to Brandon, the Shelter Manager, that she didn’t want to go anywhere. “I was doing the life skills groups at Community,” said Stephanie, “I spent many nights praying that I’d get to stay and have said many times I believed community is where God wants me.”

Stephanie was thrilled when she was hired to work at Path of Life as a Residential Services Staff Lead at the Community Shelter. She has enjoyed working alongside each and every staff member at the shelter and has found that every person goes above and beyond everyday for our guests. “I see that the staff have a real love for their job and Path of Life. I am so proud to be part of this team and I truly love my job and hope that I have many, many years with Path of Life!”

Pictured is Stephanie with her team, RSS Jerry, Maurice, James, LaRay, Angel, Gina, Sandra, Karen, and Rose.

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Riverside City College

Music Department

In a beautiful act of kindness, the Riverside City College Music Department held a benefit concert Sunday, September 30, 2018 to raise funds for our homeless shelters in Riverside.

Peter Curtis, D.M., Professor of Music at RCC coordinated the event after he felt driven to help our neighbors without homes in the city. “In 2016 the RCC Music department moved to a beautiful new home in downtown Riverside at the Henry W. Coil Sr. and Alice Edna Coil School for the Arts,” Peter Curtis stated, “Unfortunately, there are homeless people in the downtown area and our department wanted to help.  Our city councilman, Mike Gardner suggested Path of Life as an organization we could partner with for this cause.  After visiting your Riverside facility and being inspired by the amazing work you do, we decided to donate the funds from this concert to Path of Life Ministries.”

The benefit concert raised over $3,000, enough to sponsor an entire week shelter as a part of our new Sponsor-a-Night program. We are so incredibly grateful and humbled by this support, and what better week for the Riverside City College Music Department to sponsor than the week of Thanksgiving, November 18-24, 2018.

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James M.

Volunteer, Employment Pipeline

James has volunteered hundreds of hours serving the homeless population in Riverside. One amazing story was when he was helping a man with his resume at the Salvation Army. The resume was for a mail clerk position at a stock brokerage firm. Six years later while walking down the street in Denver, a man in a “thousand dollar suit” ran up to him. The man thanked him profusely for helping him get that job in the mail room years ago and now he is a stockbroker at a large firm. James couldn’t believe this man remembered him and was amazed how he had moved up the ranks over the years. James notes, “The few we help is life changing.”

After completing a 9 month training program in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, James worked with homeless veterans at a local nonprofit. During this time, he gained knowledge in WRAP and led multiple small WRAP groups with the veteran population at nearby V.A.s.

In his search for additional volunteer work, he remembered Path of Life from his experience when he was a client in the Community Shelter. He applied for a volunteer position and began volunteering in the Employment Pipeline.

James has been with the Employment Pipeline for almost 3 years and has become an invaluable volunteer to the program. His continued pursuit of knowledge has driven him to become certified in Peer Support and WRAP Facilitation.

“Now I have the opportunity to bring those experiences and the lessons I learned to the Path of Life Employment Pipeline,” he said, “One thing I have learned is not only do we get back when we give to others, we learn also. I have learned so much and look forward to learning more.”

He is currently working with the Path of Life Behavior Health program as a Peer Support Specialist. We celebrate the dedication and passion he has for those we serve.

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Mr. Branden

Program Participant

Mr. Branden came to Path of Life as a guest at our Community Shelter. He began working with an Achievement Coach, who eagerly supported him toward his goals. Having identified his desire to work, she quickly referred him to our Employment Pipeline Program.

Mr. Branden first connected with our Employment Pipeline team at one of our Employment Workshops, held weekly at our Community Shelter. During the skills assessment, our Employment Navigators found that he had a passion for helping people with disabilities and was actively volunteering in a wheelchair ministry for 10 consecutive years.

Our Employment team guided Mr. Branden to find job opportunities combining his experience and passion and, once he secured a job interview at a non medical transport company, they worked extensively with him to prepare his interview skills. We additionally supported him in attaining interview clothing and bus passes.  When he was hired by the transport company, we provided work-wear through the Employment Pipeline Program.

Our organization’s guiding principle of ongoing support help to address the weaknesses and strengths many people experiencing homelessness encounter and help rebuild their lives toward self-sufficiency.

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Melina Boswell

Donations Partner, New Wealth Advisors Club

Melina Boswell founded New Wealth Advisors Club (NWAC), a real estate club headquartered in Riverside, California, with her late husband Dave Boswell.  A few years ago when Melina met Damien O’Farrell, CEO of Path of Life, she discovered her passion for helping the necessitous and was asked to join Path of Life’s Board of Directors.

As a board member, Melina has taken on the responsibility of being part of the finance and development committee. She plans fundraising events, develops connections with prospective donors and helps to sustain Path of Life’s goals through her commitment to the mission of rescuing, restoring and rebuilding lives. 

She also saw a unique opportunity to help others through New Wealth Advisors Club. She and her stellar team at NWAC, formed a food bank that would eventually grow into a 2000 square foot warehouse filled with donations of food, housewares, clothing and other important supplies for those in need. In partnership with Path of Life, NWAC opens its doors to homeless men, women and children to “go shopping” for these basic necessities, at no cost.

All of Melina’s efforts are continually recognized, and we were honored to present her with the Rescue, Restore and Rebuild Award  at our annual Sheltering heARTS fundraising gala. We are grateful to have her as a community partner.

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Mike’s Moving

Community Partner

We reached out to Mike’s Moving to help us move a generous donation of furniture to our warehouse.

When the movers arrived to unload the beds and couches, we found the parking lot at the warehouse torn up with a 3 foot ditch in front of our ramp.  The movers could not unload the truck-load of furniture.  The construction manager said that he would guarantee access by the end of the week. Mike graciously agreed to keep everything on his truck until they could unload that morning.

Mike was extremely generous in letting all of the furniture remain on the truck, since that meant that he could not use it for several days for other jobs.  Mike is always very accommodating and does his best to help us out, even with such short notice.  We are so grateful to have Mike’s Moving as a partner in our works!