How we started
Positive Paths was born from the desire to help women in the East Valley of Arizona. We recognized that a gap existed in the East Valley regarding financial security and independence for women and their families. We acknowledged that many women and their families were working very hard in entry level jobs, seeming self-sufficient, but unable to sustain their financial independence. What if women were assisted through supplemental funding combined with caring, supportive mentors as they increased their earning capacity through education, amplified skill sets, and greater employment prospects? Drawing upon the indomitable will and strength inherent in women working hard to support themselves and their families, we could increase and ensure the financial security and self-sufficiency of families in our community. We recognized that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits – families are healthier, more children complete elementary and high school and continue on to trade school or college, productivity improves, and incomes increase. In
short, communities become more resilient, self-sufficient, and securely independent.
Founded in 2014 by a group of forward thinking East Valley leaders, Positive Paths works tirelessly to remove barriers and obstacles that prevent East Valley women from succeeding. We provide a “life-bridge” for women who face challenges to grow personally and professionally and increase the likelihood of future generations of economic stability.
History of Positive Paths: A Realized Vision
East Valley leaders meet at Chandler-Gilbert Community College to discuss the problem of decreased funding at community colleges and the impact on student support services, particularly in regard to re-entry women’s services. The search for solutions begins.
East Valley leaders tour Fresh Start Women’s Foundation (FSWF), the Jewell McFarland Women’s Resource Center in Phoenix. Informal discussions about the possibility of doing something similar in the East Valley ensue.
East Valley leaders gather for feasibility and needs-assessment meetings.
An East Valley Executive Council begins to form and organize.
Official affiliation with FSWF begnis as the East Valley Executive Council of Fresh Start. The council primarily fundraises to support costs for East Valley operations with FSWF implementing and managing program services.
Services for East Valley women began at Gilbert Elementary School in the evenings and at the Gilbert Boys and Girls Club during the day.
The Annual Night of Heroes event begins, honoring the East Valley Man and Woman of the Year, as an annual fundraising and friend-raising event.
Services are relocated to a modular building at the East Valley Institute of Technology.
A new CEO of FSWF is selected and subsequent changes are made in East Valley staff and services.
FSWF and East Valley Executive Council amicably implement separation plans in order to best serve East Valley women.
Positive Paths, a non-profit organization serving East Valley Women with Scholarship and mentoring, is formed.
Positive Paths provided 5 scholarships through the dedicated efforts of a volunteer, working Board. Individual mentors were provided to each scholarship recipient.
Positive Paths provided a total of 18 scholarships since its 2014 beginning.
Positive Paths provided an additional 11 scholarships with matching mentors to East Valley women.
Positive Paths acquires office space at A New Leaf, in Mesa, but eventually moves.
More scholar-Mentees are being served every year.
Monthly Mentoring Events are implemented.
Positive Paths has cumulatively provided 55 women with scholarships and mentors.
And the good work continues. The organization is run entirely with volunteers–there are no paid staff. We have an office at 1550 S. Alma School Road, Suite 250, in Mesa, Arizona 85210. The space is the repository for files, clothing and materials for the women served, but it is only staffed when needed. Calls are answered by volunteers. A fall mentoring breakfast allows scholar-mentees to meet their mentors as well as the other women being served. During the course of the academic year, scholar-mentees attend individual and group mentoring meetings, as well as occasional workshops on topics of interest. The annual Night of Heroes Gala is typically held in the spring of each year, and honors the East Valley Man and Woman of the Year. As of spring 2019, the organization had served 55 women with ongoing scholarship support and individual mentoring, while offering services to hundreds of other women.
Encourage others to invest in the futures of East Valley women in need, and to support East Valley women to be resilient and positive contributors to their communities.
Positive Paths exists to support East Valley women in need by providing a life-bridge to economic stability, personal growth and professional achievement. We do this through mentorship programs, scholarships, and supportive services.
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