• Nicole Jennings

A Strange Year Expands the Heart of Pathways for Youth

In some ways I feel as if I am living life with the Jetsons as I attend Zoom meetings and help with virtual teaching. Other times I feel as if I am living with the Flintstones because everything is new, difficult, and we are always reinventing how to do something that was once easy. What a year…

While it is easy to focus on the negatives of 2020, I want to reflect on the positive aspects for a moment. In March, Pathways for Youth shut its doors but opened the heart of the program wider than ever. We had to look at the immediate needs of our Pathways families and try to figure out how to help with them.


We provided food, school supplies, crafts, enrichment take-home activities and more for our families during no contact distributions in March, April, and May. While this was only a small gesture in the scheme of things, we have heard it made a world of difference for our families.


In the summer we offered very small group activities for the elementary, middle, and high school students. We were so happy to have our kids back in the building. Also, throughout the spring and summer, Family Service of Roanoke Valley continued to offer counseling through virtual meetings, phone calls, and one-on-one meetings when possible.


The 2020-2021 school year is now underway. Since Roanoke City Schools is currently all-virtual, we are accommodating families with a place for their child(ren) to come from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Monday through Thursday for structure and help with their classes. We will continue offering these hours until all students are able to return to school.


Each student has their own “office” space, and we practice social distancing as well as mask wearing, and hand washing. We are still offering some of our normal activities when possible including TOP, STEM activities, Health and Wellness, crafts, Devotions, as well as fun dress up and pajamas days. While this is far from the normal flow of Pathways, we are still finding ways to have fun and work together 6 feet apart.


We want to thank everyone who has reached out to help and meet the needs we encounter - everything from school supplies to extra snacks. Without your help we would not be able to provide a safe and structured environment that ensures a little bit of “normal” for our students each day.


While 2020 has many of us feeling like we are spinning our wheels and getting nowhere, I pray that you keep this verse close to your heart “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58


-Nicole Jennings, Director of Family Programs

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