Building Community from the Inside Out

Community Perspective


Garden Pathways Comprehensive Mentoring Services operates under the principle that healthy community requires the participation of all its members. The ultimate goal for those who receive mentoring is to become a mentor to others. Each community member and organization can be an asset bringing valuable perspective, skill, and strengths to the community. To repair the significant problems facing our cities, every healthy network and community asset must be brought to bear on the human problems of abuse, poverty, welfare dependence, and failed relationships. In spite of the the many problems that face us, some elements of the community have been marginalized in the effort to mobilize effective social programs. The faith community is one of those segments that has been bypassed in the development of social solutions, but cannot be ignored if success is to be achieved. Intentional outreach and mobilization of the substantial resources and membership of community congregations through mentoring is an appropriate and important element of a total community approach to development.

The unique cultural approach of each community element is considered in the development of mentor training and curriculum. Appropriate language and emphasis mobilize unique mentors to use their own life experience in a way that will strengthen a family or individual struggling with poverty. For those coming from a business perspective, a business enculturation approach is used in both training and curriculum. Mentors who hail from the faith community are trained using language that resonates with their world view and provided with non-religious curriculum that focuses their efforts to build hope, develop skills, and bring a healthy experience of community to each one who is mentored.

Using the principles of Federal Law found in the Charitable Choice Provision of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, each mentor and participant chooses to mentor or participate either from a community or faith-based perspective. This approach respects the values of the individuals while linking them to individuals with a broader network and a more positive world view. Garden Pathways has trained more than 100 churches and hundreds of mentors who all bring their unique strengths to the process of mentoring. Material and training provided by Garden Pathways finds appropriate expression in any community entity that desires to build healthy families, strong parents, and effective social interaction.