For 50 years, the primary mission of Pathway Services Unlimited has been to provide and stimulate the development of quality opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities and other physical and mental challenges. Operating with the slogan “We Specialize in Amazing People,” Pathway currently provides programs for individuals from ages three through adult, and serves over 500 individuals annually in Morgan, Scott, Cass, Greene and Sangamon Counties.
Pathway School was created in 1964 by a group of parents and area professionals who desired to have educational opportunities available for children with developmental disabilities. At that time there was no place in the school system for these individuals, thus the need for this specialized school. The first class of Pathway school contained 24 students and was held in the basement of the Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Ill.
Today, Pathway Services Unlimited continues to provide Children’s Programs, as well as Adult Day Programs, Vocational Services, Residential Programs and Home Based Support Services to families and individuals with disabilities.
Pathway Children’s Program is an Illinois State Board of Education approved, non-public school for children and young adults, aged three through 21, with severe and profound developmental disabilities. Individuals enrolled in the school are offered skill training in language, fine motor, gross motor, self-care, and academic areas appropriate to the developmental level of each child. Each classroom is led by a certified teacher, while support service specialists, including registered physical therapists, speech therapists, nurses, and one-to-one aides assist each student with their communication and behavior.
The Adult Day Program offered through Pathway services provides specialized instruction for adults, ages 18 and over. The program prepares these individuals to live and function in various settings by promoting independence in daily living, social integration, responsible decision making and economic self-sufficiency. The Adult Day Program currently has 14 classrooms and approximately 200 participants. The program’s curriculum is based on individual functioning level and need.
Pathway Services’ Vocational Program provides on the job training, vocational skills assessments, and the opportunity for paid work to individuals with developmental disabilities. Currently, Pathway has 35 individuals enrolled in this program, many of whom de-manufacture computers for Green Path Electronics Recycling or work at Pathway’s resale shop, “The Attic.” Both of these businesses were created to offer more work opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Pathway currently operates 17 group homes, 15 located in Jacksonville and two in Springfield. The Residential Program is a service designed to contribute to a successful life, and is individualized to the needs of each person that lives in the homes.
“We strive to enhance the skills and abilities of each individual, assist them in becoming part of their community in ways that are meaningful to them, provide opportunities that enrich their lives, appreciate creativity and to help them attain their personal goals,” said Stephanie Baptist, Development and Communications Director for Pathway Services Unlimited.
Pathway’s Home-Based Support Services Program provides assistance to individuals with disabilities so that they can remain living independently in their own homes or with their family. The support services offered by this program are individualized to meet the specific needs of each person.
Currently, Pathway Services Unlimited employs 235 staff members, and 35 individuals doing paid work, while operating on an annual budget of over 10 million dollars. Pathway continues to grow as a vital part of the Jacksonville community and be upheld as a leader in advocacy for individuals with disabilities.