Goodwill’s Pathways to Opportunity program is a community-integrated day training center for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
We offer an array of group classes, Monday through Friday. Our classes focus on education, recreation, creative expression, and employment exploration.
We want our participants to live as independent lives as possible and so we’re teaching self-determination, daily living skills, and vocational skills to assist them in doing that.
I think what sets Pathways to Opportunity apart from other programs is our daily focus on ensuring that our classes have purpose and and outcomes. Many classes we offer are held in the community in more typical settings. We want the adults involved to experience the good things in life, and to be part of their community.
When people ask our participants about themselves, we hope that they’re able to speak about their valued roles, like being an editor of the journalism team, a volunteer, an actor, or a book club member.
We have seen so many individuals grow personally through the experiences we offer, and that is what we love– the differences that this program makes in people’s lives and the purpose it brings to their day.
But not only does the program offer an educational component but it allows our participants to socialize and make friends, not only at the program, but to continue the relationships outside of the program. What inspires us about this program is all of the breakthrough moments of our participants:Having their artwork displayed in galleries, witnessing someone introduced himself to a community member for the first time, an aspiring artist having their first solo in our glee club, or taking a main role in a performance like the Wizard of Oz.
It’s such an amazing feeling to hear from parents that they’re seeing differences in their son and daughter at home, like asking to mow the lawn independently or registering to vote, or major achievements like someone getting their first job.
Pathways to Opportunity not only serves adults with disabilities, but it also serves to bring awareness to the community about this able and talented population.
We at Goodwill hope to build this program across Southwest Florida and continue to improve the lives of people with disabilities.