Pathways helps students pave road to success

Sarah Gilmour, outreach coordinator for Pathways to Success, chats with Haitian native Guy Mercredi at Pathways’ Friendraiser/Young Men’s Summit. Guy was among the Pathways’ students who presented testimonials.

GEORGETOWN — Community support and real-life testimonials punctuated the Pathways to Success Friendraiser/Young Men’s Summit April 9 at Crossroad Community Church.

Nearly 300 male students from Cape Henlopen, Seaford, Milford, Sussex Tech and Dover’s Campus Community attended the day-long event, which marched to an “integrity” theme beat.

“Our vision is about integrity,” said Jacques Bowe, Pathways to Success coordinator at Sussex Tech. “We let them know how to empower themselves to be successful but also to make good decisions and to know what to do when no one is looking.”

Founded by Fay Blake in 2006, Pathways to Success is a nonprofit organization based in Georgetown. Its mission is to prepare at-risk youth, adults and families for successful lives through innovative and creative approaches in mentoring, education and community outreach to inform, education and empower.”

Among the business/community supporters is ALOFT AeroArchitects, based near the Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown.

“That is why we are very passionate about the Pathways organization, because of their mission, because all of those values are so important — not just to be successful in a career but just to be a good person,” said Sandy Taras, ALOFT’s chief financial officer. “We embrace that, and we are doing what we can to support them.”

ALOFT cast its support several years year ago.

“Actually, it is an interesting story. They were in the middle of a recruiting campaign to get shirts and ties for the young men’s summit. I had learned through a friend that this group was collecting gently used or new ties to provide to the Young Men’s Summit. So, we took it upon ourselves,” said Ms. Taras. “I work with a large group of men. I went into the office the next day and I was in a meeting with 30 to 40 men and I challenged every one of them to give me a necktie. We ended up with a couple hundred neck ties, and that led into a couple hundred shirts. We actually supported them through that.”

“When we attended the first summit to see them in action and present the young men with their shirts and ties, myself and a couple other members of our leadership team, we just really loved what we saw with the passion that Fay Blake brings to this organization,” said Ms. Taras. “We were hooked. I personally volunteered to chaperone. This is my third summit. A couple other members of our team will volunteer for the summits as well.”

Keynote speaker for the Friendraiser was Mike Meoli, president of the Meoli Companies, which encompasses about a dozen McDonald’s restaurants.

Several students who work at Mr. Meoli’s McDonalds presented testimonials. One was Guyvenson “Guy” Mercredi, a Haitian native.

After saying goodbye to his impoverished Caribbean island homeland, he initially stayed with family in Florida, but found himself in Delaware. Now a senior at Seaford High School, he is pursuing his Hollywood dream, thanks in large part to Pathways to Success and its Seaford program administrator, Keda Dorsica, whose parents are Haitian.

“My grades were not that perfect. Pathways was an opportunity,” he said. “Miss Keda, with Pathways, she is like family right now. If I have a problem she will talk to me.”

“My family came from Haiti. April 15, is my fifth year living in America. I came here when I was 13. I didn’t speak a word of English. Not a word. When I turned 14 I got kicked out, or I’d still be Florida,” said Guy, who joined Pathways as a junior. “I didn’t have enough strength and I couldn’t focus enough in my work to get there. Miss Keda, she said you have got to do it. If you don’t do it right now nobody is going to do it for you. It is your dream, you’ve got to chase your dream. She was the motivator. I am going to be the first one to graduate high school in my family, and the first one to go to college.”

“Ten years down the road I want to see myself in Hollywood, to be a creator. Like a creator or producer, someone that other people can look up to,” said Guy. “I want to entertain people and hopefully give them the joy that I never had as a kid. I want to be in film-making. I play piano, guitar, and I write my own songs. But I haven’t put none of them out yet. I’m still learning.”

One of Pathways’ goals is to remove barriers.

“They come from various backgrounds,” said Mr. Bowe. “They have different barriers. They have things that are stopping them from being successful and what we do is we focus on removing any barrier they have to be successful. That is why we call it the Pathways to Success; we put them back on the path and give them the resources they need to be successful, wherever it may be.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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