“I want to take my negatives and turn them into positives to become a beacon of light to others.”

~ Maria, former Urban Pathways Client

Born and raised in the Bronx, Maria endured hardship from a young age. Her mother passed away at just 39 years old, leaving Maria to navigate her formative years alone as she experienced abuse and struggled with alcoholism. Without a stable personal support system, Maria entered a three-quarter house to work towards sobriety. There, she received a referral to Urban Pathways.

We welcomed Maria into our Urban Pathways community in 2015. She joined our Scattered Site Program. The Scattered Site Program is a housing model that places people we serve into private, safe apartments across the city to support their independence and provide a base for them to grow as they work towards their personal goals and well-being. This balance of agency and support allowed Maria to thrive.

Working with Urban Pathways case managers and staff, Maria began to feel more confident in herself, both professionally and personally. She received her Associate’s Degree in 2022 and became a certified Recovery Advocate to support others on their journey to sobriety. She’s worked as a peer specialist and recently joined CASE’s intensive mobile treatment team: providing health treatments and crisis support for individuals when and where they need it. Throughout her time with Urban Pathways, Maria never lost her empathy and gained a firm belief in the power of support for people experiencing hardship.

Ultimately, her trust in Urban Pathways’ mission is what drove her to share her story. She stated it’s “surreal” how far she’s come, viewing “the opportunity Urban Pathways gave [her]” as the support she needed to reclaim her life. From her own experience, she believes that Urban Pathways can support others on their journey home.

Maria’s story represents the circumstances many New Yorkers face every day. And it demonstrates that – with just a little help – there is always a beacon of hope for a better life on the horizon.

Maria, thank you for becoming that beacon for others by sharing your story with us.

Please join us in congratulating Maria as she joins her fiancée in Washington D.C. and begins a new full-time job!

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During this Giving Tuesday Season, help us reach people like Maria. With your generous donation, we can help more New Yorkers become a beacon of light and hope like Maria.

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By Urban Pathways on November 15, 2022