Children experiencing homelessness have new education opportunities thanks to Pathways, Inc.

pathways elc
Making a change through hospitality, housing and hope. Photo via Pathways, Inc.

United Way agency Pathways, Inc. is opening a new program for children experiencing homelessness on Monday, November 1. They will be providing early childhood education to children of families who are currently without homes. Keep reading to learn more about the program.

Pathways gives assistance to those without homes

According to Pathways’ news release, one in 23 children in Alabama will experience homelessness before the age of six and most of the state’s homeless children in that age group living in Jefferson County. Only three percent of those children have access to federally-funded early childhood education.

Pathways, Inc. decided to work to change these statistics. It is an organization that serves homeless women and children in Jefferson County. Recently, they received a $26,000 grant from Governor Kay Ivey and other state officials to help assist citizens without homes. 

How do they plan to use it? By providing transportation for their clients to doctors’ appointments or their new child education facility. Plus, Pathways announced the opening of Pathways Early Learning Center (ELC)—Alabama’s first FREE childcare center exclusively for children experiencing homelessness.

A place of empowerment and peace

Pathways ELC is an innovative pilot program in partnership with the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education for children eight weeks to five years old. It is available for homeless children who are sleeping:

  • In Pathways or another shelter
  • Outside
  • In a car

“At Pathways, we believe children experiencing homelessness are equally deserving of high quality educational experiences. Kids living in shelters are often forced to grow up too soon as they navigate programs designed for adults. Pathways ELC is a place designed for them, where they can play, learn and just be a kid. This program allows parents the time to address barriers keeping their family in homelessness, but more importantly, it gives their children a respite from the realities of homelessness as they learn and grow in a safe and nurturing environment.”

Carrie Leland, Executive Director, Pathways, Inc.

The center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30AM-5:30PM and is licensed to serve 22 children. It is also immediately available from a family’s first day of homelessness.

Your community needs your help

The opening of ELC was funded through grants from organizations that include:

  • Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
  • The Daniel Foundation
  • United Way of Central Alabama
  • The McWane Foundation
  • Honda Manufacturing
  • The Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation

Do you know someone who is experiencing homelessness? You can find ways to help here.

Has Pathways, Inc. made a difference in your life? Tag us on socials @BhamNow and let us know. Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE newsletter.

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Tira Davis
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