By Jim Davis

Picture yourself as an unemployed factory worker who has been out of work for more than a year because the company you worked for moved its manufacturing operations overseas. You’ve been trying hard to find work, but your skills just aren’t a fit in today’s market. Money is becoming tight and you’re struggling to pay your rent and keep food on the table. You want to turn your life around, but you don’t know how to do it or where to go for help.

Or imagine yourself as a drug addict who wants to break that dependency and make a better life for yourself. Or as an unwed mother who needs to feed your hungry children. Or a lonely senior who desires fellowship and meaning in your life. Where would you go to get help?

Getting ahead in life is hard under the best of circumstances. For people in situations like these, it can be especially difficult. Many of these people struggle just to be able to afford necessities like food, clothing, shelter and health care. That doesn’t leave much time for them to think about how they could make their lives better. And even if they had time, they don’t know where to start or what steps to take to get them where they want to go. Without help, many of these people will never be able to reach their dream of a better life.

That’s why the Life Enrichment Center created the Pathways to Growth program. The Pathways include services that address immediate needs like food and health issues, courses to help people learn the skills they need to improve their lives, and activities that help them put those skills into practice. The program is designed such that we can tailor a plan to the unique needs of each individual client. Our goal is to provide our clients with the support they need to meet their needs today and the help they need to build a path to a better tomorrow.

The Pathways are arranged in five levels, each of which is designed to fill a certain set of needs:

  • The first tier contains Basic Needs Services, which ensure our clients have access to basic necessities like hot meals, showers and haircuts, clothing, and mailbox services.
  • The second level addresses Health and Safety Needs. These services promote a healthy lifestyle for our clients by giving them access to our fitness center and a variety of health and wellness screenings.
  • Next up are the Relationship Services, which seek to help our clients form a sense of community by participating in group activities such as the East Dayton Senior Collaborative and recovery groups.
  • The fourth-tier services focus on Esteem Needs. These services help clients build confidence and improve their self-image by participating in activities that reward them for their participation, such as the Earn-A-Bike program and the Community Gardens.
  • In the fifth and final tier, clients can pursue Spiritual Needs through Bible-study and worship services. They can also address their need to find God’s Purpose in their life by participating in activities and courses that prepare them to find a new job.

The Pathways are completely flexible. Neighbors can enter the Pathways at any level and their personal Path can combine services from more than one level at a time. How a person uses the Pathways depends on his or her circumstances and the goals they want to achieve.

The Pathways enable us to meet our neighbors’ immediate needs while also helping them build their path to a better future. They’re a powerful, flexible tool that supports our objective of transforming the lives of our neighbors and the communities in which they live.

“Because Everyone Has Value”

Jim Davis has been a volunteer with the Life Enrichment Center since 2019. His grandparents lived in East Dayton and he has many fond memories of what the area was like when he was growing up.