We had our first donor luncheon on June 13, 2015 at the Sweet Potato Café. The lunch was planned in association with a visit from our Vice President, Dr. Mbaabu Mathiu, and his wife Joy Mbaabu. It was a rare opportunity for our long-supportive donors to meet the people who actually ensure that PATHWAYS is running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Dr. Mathiu welcomed the gathering and offered his insights on several of the scholars who have been sponsored by the donors. He made the important point that while unemployment of recent college graduates is approximately 40%, 100% of the PATHWAYS scholars are employed. This, he explained, is due to the leadership training provided by PATHWAYS. This visit also coincided with our 10th year anniversary as a non-profit. Thus, we were eager to hear the thoughts of the donors as to how PATHWAYS can improve and become sustainable in the next 10 years. Several good ideas were offered and our plan is to create a 10-year roadmap for the future of PATHWAYS with the goal of self-sustainability. We are extremely fortunate to have such a committed and supportive group of donors, and you have our sincere appreciation. Pictured from left to right are: Dr. Mbaabu Mathiu, Joy Mbaabu, Angie Gust, Tom Gordon (bottom row), Scott Groussman, Jessica Brooks, Mark Light, Donna Groussman, Megan Light, Dr. Stuart Zola (top row). A separate lunch was planned with Ronnie Jowers (center) who could not make the official luncheon. Thank you for all of your support Ronnie!
PATHWAYS LEADERSHIP FOR PROGRESS celebrated our 10-year anniversary on May 30-31, 2015 at Stedmak Gardens in Karen, Kenya. The sessions for this milestone event were held on a boat out in the middle of a lake- a new experience for many of us. It was an amazing celebration, planned entirely by a dedicated team of scholars and facilitated by our very own Shadrack Shitseswa. All the current scholars and many alumni were in attendance. The atmosphere was celebratory and the program was filled with a diverse range of topics. These included training on income generation to further empower community members,
sharing cultural traditions to improve understanding among scholars, a presentation, organized by alumnus Michael Murigi, on Kiva Zip as PATHWAYS will be a partner with that organization in line with our strong interest in providing microloans, and a discussion of what to do in the event of a terrorist attack in light of the attack at Garissa College.
A highlight was the recognition of scholar’s achievements in the last year. Justus Salach, Hussein Abdhallah and Shadrack Shitseswa received the highest awards for their project progress and levels of communication. Marylyn Nyabuti and Eunita Akim won the Innovation Award for their efforts to mentor young girls to stay in school. Alumnus Shelly Okumu provided an anniversary cake that was delicious and beautiful. Team building activities included a tug of war, driving the bumper cars and flying on the swings. Laughter pervaded the entire resort.
This atmosphere portends a bright future for PATHWAYS.
Another of the highlights of the celebration was a heartfelt reading of a poem written especially for the occasion by Hussein Adhallah. Thank you Hussein, we are looking forward to working together as a group to making the next 10 years even better.
10 Years by Hussein Abdhallah
10 years ago Hope, in the name of PATHWAYS, trans versed space and time from America to Kenya, to make a dream come true.
Truth be told it came like serenity, and took away the bad days. 10 years ago…
10 years of compassion and sacrifice and service. 10 years.
10 years of passion, empathy and giving. 10 years.
10 years of dreaming, foreseeing, striving, actualizing, 10 years.
10 years of building, mentoring, lecturing, and advising.
10 years of realizing…
10 years of materializing…
10 years of a selfless hand reaching out, warming up to our ambitions,
10 years she built us bridges to link us to our potential,
10 years ago and today we went to school,
10 years ago and today we earned a degree,
10 years ago and today I take honor and pleasure standing
before this beautiful congregation.
This is a brief reminder to you all, a missive to confirm your bravery,
a statement to acknowledge your success.
A word-play of some sort, to play out your praise and mention about the vivid hard work.
A note of appreciation; a mention of the obvious truism that with the true intention and correct amount of effort, we can be anything we set out to be.
As brothers, mothers, fathers, friends and sisters, mentors, guiders, tutors, light up in my heart some dazzling flame of motivation.
You are all heroes in this episode of our life. I extol the allegiance you have employed to your studies…the steadfastness you have maintained in effecting positive-change at those various communities, and if you ask Barbara Coloroso, or even ask Deb herself here, she will acknowledge that you said what you meant, and you meant what you said, and you did what you said you would do… and what’s more? Hard work, as it were, is only fully and fairly reciprocated with good results.
I am compelled to remark that in the wave of heat of challenges, and the ferocious wind of adversity, you held still to your ground; not faltering like many did. Rather, diligence and industry has tended to leap you out from your frog-ponds.
Because you never gave up and gave in, you indeed are worthy of thanks giving.
My humble plea to myself and you all is that, let us not dessert the Pathways path, because as it is crystal clear now, this has been the high road to all of us, many of us. Let us take up this heritage and own it, maybe it is our destiny.
The annual meeting to introduce and orient new scholars was held on October 12, 2013. In attendance were Deb Gust, President; Mbaabu Mathiu, Vice-President; Catherine Kaimeni, Student Coordinator, Monicah Wairmu, Alumni Coordinator; along with the current scholars, alumni Ken Otieno and Nafisa Ayuka, and invited guests. In addition to the new scholars orientation, the meeting provided an opportunity for discussion of current status and future directions, plans for the alumni group and the presentation of awards for accomplishments over the past year.
There was an outstanding set of applicants this year, so five students were selected to
begin as scholars in the fall semester. This is the largest class in PATHWAYS history.
The new scholars are: Catherine Kabaire who will study Medicine at the University of
Nairobi, Vivian Achieng who will study Sociology and Psychology at the University
of Nairobi, Shadrack Shitseswa who will study Education at the University of Nairobi,
Kevin Obede who will study Actuarial Science at the University of Nairobi and
Eric Lemungesi who will study Environmental Health at Kenyatta University. The
PATHWAYS community welcomes these scholars and looks forward to productive
association with them.
The following awards were presented: Brian Kilonzi was chosen as PATHWAYS
Scholar of the year based on excellent performance in all areas during the past year,
Dennis Magiri Mutwiri, Michael Murigi Njorige and Alphonce Oginga each received
an award as Role Model Scholar, Jemimah Peters was identified as the Most Improved
Scholar, Eunita Akim was named the Outreach to Sponsor Scholar, Marylyn Nyabuti
was honored as the Outstanding Initiative Scholar, Hussein Abdhallah was selected as
the Writer/Communicator Scholar, and Justus Salach and Martin Mwiti each received a
Special Incentive Award in recognition of outstanding first year accomplishments.
The meeting highlighted the many accomplishments to date, outlined plans for future
activities and the group departed with renewed enthusiasm for the coming year.
The 8th annual conference was special this year as its emphasis was on the growing alumni group. Three of the alumni Aphonce Oginga, Denis Mtwiri and Michael Murigi organized and planned the entire event. Student Coordinator Catherine Kaimenyi can be proud as she has mentored the scholars to do just this. Third year scholar Hussein Said reviewed the mission, vision, and goals of PATHWAYS.
With the growing emphasis on the alumni group, a guest speaker with over a decade of experience in project implementation, Fred Otieno, was brought in to provide suggestions on the way forward. He noted the levels of engagement in an alumni organization and exactly how to erect an alumni posture from scratch. His message encompassed issues on alumni leadership, structure of the alumni association and the ways of interaction/communication, and even offered the usual misconceptions that tend to be associated with such entities. Kudos, Fred, you did a handsome job! After two days of activities, a quote that the group walked away with was, ‘The best way to predict your future is to create it” –Abraham Lincoln. Many thanks to Dr. Mbaabu Mathiu, Vice President of PATHWAYS, Catherine Kaimenyi, Student Coordinator, and Monicah Wairimu, Outreach Coordinator, for their dedication and commitment to the scholars and the PATHWAYS mission.