Our great supporters Pamela Martinez and Alex Martinez spent more than a week at the Pathway Agro Farm for Children. They came along with youth and friends from their ward. It was a pleasure to receive young women: Paige Darby, Hailey Ord and Megan Stewart. It was wonderful to receive five young men: Sam Brown, McKay Reese, Noah Smith, David Sorenson and Westin Smith. It was also good to have Wayne Smith and Sarah Schroeder.
All these wonderful people had to come to serve at Pathway. They spent considerable time with the children, teaching them several things, playing with them and also assisting the organization in many ways, such as , farming. Pathway is indeed thankful to them for their love. Founder- Director Prasad, Chandra Prasad and Dhuli Patniak honoured Pamela and Alex Martinez and every volunteer with silk shawls.
One of Pathway’s lovely recent graduates is Esther, a young lady who is beautiful both in mind and in body. Esther has always brightened her associates and her surroundings by her attitude of cheerfulness, kindness, and enthusiasm. She often expressed her feelings through her sweet voice and her creative lyrics. An excellent and dedicated student, Esther received high marks and a scholarship check for further study as she has moved on to touch and bless others through her generous spirit.
Pathway, Chennai is a place where a work of powerful love is being done, unbeknownst to many in the world. Several students with disabilities attend special education classes there, as well as participating in vocational classes and even paid work by creating beautiful works of art—from jewelry to nativity sets. No matter the severity or type of disability, all staff expect something great from every student. High expectations have made all the difference at this magical place. Many times throughout my tour of the facilities, I found myself choked up at the special work being done by very special people, both staff and students.
What was most charming about Pathway, Chennai and Chandra was the attitude of “ability,” rather than “disability.” Chandra never used negative words like “dis” or “unable” to describe the students skills, nor did she praise them like little children; she simply spoke of them as they are, human beings making a contribution to the world. She explained the importance of giving the world a more accurate view of what people with special needs are capable of and how they are indeed assets to the world. It is not her desire to yield sympathy of any kind from the public, only a better understanding of our responsibility to care for and love all people and value the contributions they make, despite obstacles their disabilities might make.
I felt a powerful jolt while sitting in the room with Chandra viewing the students’ final work all in glass cases when Chandra held her index finger up and said with a sincere expression, “Let them live with dignity.” What is most profound about her statement is the word “let,” which implies that there lies a responsibility for all mankind to pave the way for a change in thought, a change in action, a massive change in well-set norms. It’s time we let all kinds of people in our world live with dignity by first loving them, and next learning to understand and appreciate what they have to give. Chandra, Prasad, and all the people at Pathway are embracing that responsibility by dedicating their lives and hearts to this great work, and they do it with a sense of dignity, love, and the most humble gratitude.
The assembly room was overflowing with children, There was full of excitement and expectation in the air. One could see more than two hundred beaming children sitting close to each other. There were tens of children with special needs gathered in an extended area. The entire event was being orchestrated by senior 10th grade Children under the direction of vice principal Annadurai and other teachers.
Children were busy selecting special hymns for the occasion. Sathya sat at the piano ready to play the piano for wonderful songs. Opening hymn, ….’Count your blessings’ closing hymn ‘God be with you till we meet again’were selected, there were children who were carefully selected to speak on the occasion.
It was a special day at the Pamela Matriculation School and Orphanage, a very important day for scores of children who had successfully completed their 10th grade. The day was doubly special due to the gracious presence our glorious benefactors Pamela Martinez and Alex Martinez, who had traveled all the way to Pathway, India from California. Pamela Martinez has been a loyal and a great supporter of Pathway from the past 23 years.
It was a day with mixed emotions, there was palpable joy on the faces of the children and the staff, there was also a glint of sadness in the air, as it dawned on everybody that all the successful 10 graders would be flying away from the ‘Nest’. All these lovely children would go away from Pathway to pursue their higher education, all of them had lived more than 12 years at the Orphanage, they came as young children and today they were ready to leave as young men and women. All the children had really bloomed.
After a brief welcome note from vice principal Annadurai. Monisha gave an invocation followed by singing the hymn ‘ Count your Blessings’. Young tiny- tots from the school presented two highly enjoyable and rocking dances that set the tone for the evening. Founder – director of Pathway: Prasad requested Alex and Pamela Martinez to distribute transfer certificates and Score cards to all the children. Many of the children were also handed over cheques towards admission for their 11th and 12th grades. Sneka, Ashika, Esther attracted a huge applause and appreciation from everybody that included many guardians and mothers of children. Pamela and Alex Martinez addressed the children and urged them to continue their studies and be good children of God. They expressed their happiness to be present at the occasion. Prasad conveyed his gratitude to Pamela and Alex Martinez for their generous and continued support. He called upon the children to study hard and utilize the opportunity so that they become successful in their lives. He also assured continued assistance to deserving children.