Borrego Sun - Since 1949

By Kim Simas 

Local Organization Helps Families for Christmas and More


Last updated 1/23/2020 at 2:23pm

Julian has a little-known secret that is working hard to make the community a bit brighter. Julian Pathways, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that serves the Julian Union Elementary and Julian Union High School Districts.

Established in 2000, Julian Pathways, Inc. began after receipt of the California Healthy Start Grant. The grant helped the organization provide services and activities on the elementary school campus to improve the health and wellbeing of the children and their families.

Through several grants, Pathways has grown to include before and after school programs on both the elementary and junior high campuses, a robust garden program, counseling services and has expanded resources available to the community. This school year, under the leadership of the Executive Director, Hilary Ward, Pathways has been able to furnish the after-school program with new books, cameras, sports equipment and a STEM program. Pathways has also brought monthly Reuben H. Fleet Science Center science assemblies to the students this school year. Ward is constantly looking for ways to expand the organization and provide more for the students.

One of the main highlights for Pathways each year is their Winter Warmth jacket donation program and Christmas gift drive. Pathways' Resource Coordinator, Carmen Longoria, reaches out to numerous local groups and community members for jackets, sweaters and other warm items for students. Through the generous donations, many students who didn't have the appropriate clothing for the cold weather received a jacket, sweatshirt or sweater.

Longoria also plans for months in advance to provide local families with gifts for their children to open on Christmas day. Longoria worked with USMC's Toys for Tots, CALFIRE San Diego, American Legion Post 468, Sons of the American Legion, Ladies Auxiliary, Camp Stevens, Julian Woman's Club, Julian Community United Methodist Church and many community members to gather toys, stuffed animals, clothes and more. Since Julian Union Elementary School District receives Title 1 funds due to the number of children who are below the poverty level, Pathways received 28 bikes from the Bikes for Kids Foundation. As a result of the outpouring of donations, Pathways was able to furnish 111 students with multiple gifts for Christmas.

The holiday season may be the busiest part of the year for the staff at Pathways, however, they work year-round to assist those in need. Whether it is running a robust before/after school program, grant writing or providing resources to Julian families, there is plenty to keep the organization busy. Pathways is always looking for ways to improve the lives of many in Julian and there are numerous ways the community can get involved. Stay tuned as the group at Julian Pathways, Inc. is just getting started.

Follow Julian Pathways, Inc on Facebook (@julianpathways) and Instagram (@julianpathwaysinc).

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