Longtime Pathways volunteer Margie Warwick says her passion is in mental health and helping those in need. "When you live in an affluent community like Greenwich," says Warwick, "there are so many wonderful causes ... but I feel needed in something like this and I can see a difference in what I have done with Pathways."
The organization was established in 1981 by a group of Greenwich families to respond to the needs of relatives and others discharged from psychiatric hospitals following long periods of institutionalization. The founders sought to prevent homelessness and repeated hospitalizations by creating housing and support services.
Warwick has been a volunteer, raising money for Pathways, for 27 years. "I watched it grow," said Warwick. "We help take away the stigma of mental illness in the community."
Many clients live in supervised group homes or apartments in Greenwich with staff on-site. "The point is to live with dignity," said Warwick. "Every time we go into a neighborhood we often have problems until they really understand. People are scared until they get to know. In our 29 years, there's never been an issue in any neighborhood."
Each house has a different personality, said Warwick. Clients can move from one house to another level and eventually live independently, even maintaining jobs. She said clients respond with love and appreciation for the work Pathways does. "They're never kicked out, but they can leave a Pathways house and move into an umbrella of apartments with social workers," said Warwick.
Pathways also runs a fellowship club for clients who live in the residential homes and those who live on their own. The club provides daily activities, special living skills programs like cooking, budgeting or using public transportation as well as recreation and meals. "One in three families is affected by mental illness," said Warwick. "We are trying to provide a way for them to live in a community with dignity and respect.
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