National Black Business Month- Pathways Young Adult Program Highlight Skip to content
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National Black Business Month- Pathways Young Adult Program Highlight

August 6, 2021

Well done William Ward
American poet, Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” These words best describe Chattanooga businessman, William Ward, who now runs the nonprofit organization, Pathways Young Adult Program. 

Never stop teaching
Many years ago, when William Ward was a young Hamilton County teacher, he made sure his students felt secure, cared about and fairly challenged in his classroom. Most of his young learners came from difficult home lives. This teacher knew that when kids walked into his room the positive shaping of a child’s mind would begin.

Fast forward to 2021
The power and influence that made William a great teacher decades ago, has now continued into his golden years. Always desiring to be a positive influence in young people’s lives, this lifetime educator started Pathways Young Adult Program, an agency that provides transitional services for youth ages 16 through 21. The teenagers and young adults in Pathways were all once in the Tennessee Foster Care program. When they turn 18, they age out of foster care. Many are then on their own.

A Pathway to independence
Often times when a young adult leaves the foster care system, studies show they are at increased risk for several adverse adult outcomes. Homelessness, unemployment, low educational levels and unintended pregnancies are just a few of the problems these young people face. William realized that a positive approach to prevention and intervention was necessary to help those exiting the foster care system. So he started this community based agency that provides free housing, career development, health and wellness education along with finance and money management skills to these young adults who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for help. The Pathways motto, “Success though Committed Support.”

TVFCU and giving back

The Pathways Young Adult Program was in desperate need of additional housing. More young people were hearing about the positive outcomes of the program and how invaluable William’s teaching methods are to landing full time jobs and a life of being self-sufficient. When William found out that homes were available and for sale in the neighborhood he was serving, he contacted TVCU’s Business and Commercial Services team about a loan. With the help of Business Lender, Ryan Henn, William not only got his loan, but extra money for current housing projects where remodeling is desperately needed.  

Deep commitment to core values
William has his loan and Pathways Young Adult Program will soon have additional housing for men and women who need that little extra help in life. They will have that continued family focused support they need to keep moving forward. TVFCU tries each day to help people like William Ward and his staff lead meaningful lives. In this case, it is one man’s dream to create a pathway to success for years to come.

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