Delaware’s first lady tours schools with Pathways to Success

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 5/11/22

GEORGETOWN — Pathways to Success and Delaware’s first lady Tracey Quillen Carney are on the same page when it comes to education.

On Monday and Tuesday, Ms. Carney visited Pathways’ four high school sites — Seaford, Sussex Tech, Cape Henlopen and Milford — for tours and classroom sit-ins.

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Delaware’s first lady tours schools with Pathways to Success

Posted

GEORGETOWN — Pathways to Success and Delaware’s first lady Tracey Quillen Carney are on the same page when it comes to education.

On Monday and Tuesday, Ms. Carney visited Pathways’ four high school sites — Seaford, Sussex Tech, Cape Henlopen and Milford — for tours and classroom sit-ins.

It was a chance for her to gather information in support of the First Chance Delaware project.

“That initiative is centered around trying to give kids in our state a first chance to succeed. So trying to prevent problems, intervene as early as we can to solve problems, so the kids have a chance at a good start,” said Ms. Carney.

Pathways’ founder, Faye Blake, who rose from an impoverished upbringing to success in the banking and business world, said she and the first lady talked about “coming to visit the Pathways program and the schools that we are in because of our success rate but more so because of what we pride ourselves in — developing not only relationships with the students themselves but their families and the community and the schools.”

Among its missions is to serve youth in at-risk environments through positive systemic change and empowerment.

Since 2008, the Pathways program has compiled a 98% graduation rate and a 96% rate of placement in college, full-time employment or the military.

“One of the things we pride ourselves in is being available to the students 24 hours a day, seven days a week because many of the students we are working with are underserved, and they are in need, or they are in distress,” said Ms. Blake. “We try our best to be available, so we can help them through whatever things are going on with them.”

Ms. Carney had high praise for Pathways’ work.

“It is essential to build trusting relationships (with young people),” she said. “That is the best protective factor against all the bad influences and influences of an unaddressed trauma that happen. It is trusted relationships with adults. And Pathways has invested a tremendous amount of heart and time in building those trusted relationships with the student, with the family and with the community.”

After a tour of Sussex Tech’s campus Monday, Ms. Carney sat in on the weekly after-school session, headed by Jacques Bowe, PTS’ program coordinator at the school. Caroline Jones, president of the Kind to Kids Foundation; J. Marcos Salaverria, Lewes Historical Society’s director of education; and several others also joined in.

Typically, more than half of the approximately 100 Pathways students at Tech attend after-school meetings, geared in part to address challenges.

“This is all voluntary,” Ms. Blake said. “Jacques is interacting with the kids all day. He tries to defuse situations, helping kids understand conflict resolution and talking through things, rather than getting so angry about things.”

Sharing her challenging background, boosted by motivational support from her grandmother, Ms. Blake urged students to erase the words “I can’t” from their vocabularies.

“I believe that anything you want to do, you can do, if you believe in yourself,” she added.

During the session, Mr. Bowe asked the audience the question, “Does money guarantee happiness?”

“Being happy, it comes with its own set of problems,” Ms. Blake replied. “One of the things that you will find as you move forward is that happiness really does come from within. You have to start with being happy with yourself. … Nothing external. You can buy the diamonds. You can buy the cars. You can buy the houses. And yeah, if you ask me, does it make life easier? Having been dirt-poor, I will tell you, it does. But does it make me happy in and of itself? Absolutely not.”

Ms. Carney agreed.

“If you chase money for its own sake, there is no way it will make you happy. I guess the happiest rich people I have ever met are happy because of what they can do with their money that helps other people.”