How We Started
How the Vision Began and Evolved
Pathways for Exceptional Children was founded in January 2002 as a small parent support group. Our initial mission focused on developing programs that placed special emphasis on ensuring that children with disabilities were included in their schools and communities. Since 2002, Pathways has made remarkable progress toward inclusion and has developed an array of over 40 inclusive and comprehensive programs in Montville Township, New Jersey designed to include children of all abilities and backgrounds ages 3-21. These programs have been recognized and received awards at the national, state, and local levels for the unique way they: a) promote inclusion, b) increase confidence, c) maximize individual potential, d) add value to others, and e) empower a vision for the future.
In the summer of 2011, a group of young adults approached Pathways and challenged us to raise the bar and become even more inclusive. They challenged us to change our vision and mission from working to include “children with disabilities” to including “children of all abilities.” It became clear that Pathways had reached our vision of creating a full cycle of inclusion. Instead of Pathways taking responsibility for creating inclusive programs, children began coming to us with their ideas to create, design, fund, and lead their own programs under the facilitation of an adult instructor or coach. For example, a child may have a passion for music or desire to take on a cause for social change. Pathways committed to helping these children develop their passions through facilitating and investing in their programs as long as they remained inclusive of children of all abilities and backgrounds. Pathways has found that when children come together with a common purpose or passion, that becomes the focus rather than individual differences. Today our programs largely focus on preparing children for the future and helping them reach their fullest potential and greatest level of independence and employability in the area of their passions.