By Alison Stanton —
At Teen Strong, we strive to let everybody know about organizations in Arizona that are making a difference in the lives of teenagers. This month, we are pleased to highlight Eagle Pathway and the important work that they do. Here is our interview with Angelese Calderon, Founder/President.
Q: What inspired you to open Eagle Pathway?
A: I grew up in a broken home filled with suicide attempts, drug use and abuse. Having lived on my own when I was only 15 years old, I know many of the struggles these adults face. For the past 22 years, I have worked with special needs children and adults to improve their quality of life. I fostered both children and adults until 2013, when the court finalized the adoption of my fifth child. With a desire to do more and a love for tiny homes, I founded Eagle Pathway, a 501c3 Arizona Nonprofit Corporation. The intent of Eagle Pathway is to develop a Christian-based, safe, educational home environment for youth, young women and their children who are exiting foster care programs.
Q: Please tell me about the services and programs that you offer there.
A: Youth departing their foster homes often lack options for safe and reliable housing. Not only might they feel abandoned, but they may also need help to develop a plan for their future. Life can certainly seem overwhelming, especially for those who are teen mothers. Eagle Pathway intends to bridge the gap between the foster home and society at large. Eagle Pathway’s goal is to emphasize the refinement of social skills and development of strategies for obtaining education and job opportunities, thereby empowering individuals to be self-sufficient, successful, contributing members of society.
We do this by providing a variety of enrichment programs and services such as life skill classes that teach cooking, sewing and budgeting. We also assist with food boxes, clothing, household items and holiday assistance. We offer mentoring for youth who are getting ready to age out of foster care and support groups for single mothers. Eagle Pathway also partners with local organizations and building tiny homes for these youth.
Q: What are some of the ways that Eagle Pathway can help teen girls who live in Arizona?
A: Eagle Pathway can help teen girls with a variety of classes and resources for jobs or education.
Q: What would you say is the number one misunderstanding that people have about kids in foster care?
A: I think the main misunderstanding about foster children is that people who don’t know or understand think that all foster children are on drugs, mentally unstable or bad. It is not the child who has done the wrong, it is the parents and for some reason that stigma seems to follow these children.
Q: Please tell us more about Eagle Pathway’s Thrift Store
A: Our thrift store will be open in September, 2019 and will help us to be more self-sustaining and provide funds for our programs, while also providing job skill training for those we serve. Our partnering agencies hand out our referrals to those they serve and those in crisis or those who have a new foster care placement can bring in a referral and receive free clothing, furniture or household items, toys or other things they need.
Also, we are always in need of volunteers, mentors and donors to help with our programs and events. For more information, please visit www.eaglepathway.org.