(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the August launch of the seventh cohort of the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE) Pathways Program. Since 2018, the Pathways Program has been working to reduce gun violence by giving at-risk District residents a safe place for healing and opportunities for a better life.
“The Pathways Program saves lives, and that is why I’ve prioritized investments that will allow the program to expand,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are dedicated to helping the Pathways Ambassadors get a fair shot to prosper and are grateful that they have agreed to embark on this journey with us.”
The Pathways Program receives referrals for qualified participants from ONSE’s three Violence Intervention contractors (Collaborative Solutions for Communities, Training Grounds, and Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative), the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, and other credible community contacts.
“Each time I meet a new cohort of ambassadors, I am reminded of why I do this work. When Mayor Bowser opened the ONSE office six years ago, we knew this program would have a profound impact on the participants it touched. Starting over is not easy, but each ambassador aspires to a better future, and we are dedicated to helping them achieve their goals” said Executive Director Del McFadden.
The Pathways Program helps ambassadors transform their lives by providing the services, resources, and supports necessary to achieve their personal and professional goals. The program accomplishes this through several critical partnerships:
- Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) – Many Pathways Ambassadors are under some level of community supervision while enrolled in the program. With the goal of having these ambassadors meet and complete the terms of their supervision, ONSE has worked with CSOSA to have their supervision appointments co-located at the ONSE office for the duration of their time in the program.
- Community Wellness Ventures (CWV) – CWV is a core-service agency that takes a holistic approach to behavioral health. All Pathways Ambassadors participate in weekly counseling sessions with CWV’s culturally competent clinicians. These therapeutic services address the trauma many Pathways Ambassadors have experienced in their lives and help them develop coping skills.
- Department of Employment Services (DOES) – DOES’s Division of State Initiatives assists with placing ambassadors into subsidized employment positions within DC Government and the private sector. This transitional employment allows ambassadors to build work skills and establish a positive record of recent employment.
“The Pathways Program is transformative in the way that it ferries individuals lost at sea back to shore, where they find hope, support, accountability, and opportunity. This program saves lives in more ways than one.” said community leader Tony Lewis Jr.
The Pathways Program’s goals are to decrease participant’s involvement in the criminal justice system and improve their employment, education, and training outcomes. To date, the Pathways Program has served 137 participants from neighborhoods across the District.