Carousel fundraiser supports programs that blaze paths out of poverty

James at a NORWESCAP’s Pathways 2 Prosperity teambuilding exercise. Each balloon represents a barrier to achieving success and an identified resource to overcome the obstacle. Just as the balloons supported them their skills, networks and resources will assist them in achieving self-reliance and resiliency. Fun and learning goes together at Pathways\ PHOTOS PROVIDED

BY Laurie Gordon
LAFAYETTE--The 9th Annual Carousel, Pathways 2 Prosperity's largest fundraiser, will be held Oct. 17 at Farmstead Golf & Country Club, in Lafayette. It’s an evening of camaraderie, dinner, and lots of fun, all the while raising important dollars to support the goals of Pathways 2 Prosperity. There will be Vera Bradley Bags, Karl Lagerfeld Channel Paris handbags, designer purses, play tickets, Peters Valley School of Craft workshop gift certificate, spa packages, gym memberships, original artwork and jewelry by local artists, golf outings, restaurant gift certificates, television, resort vacation and many other incredible gifts.
Through education, mentoring, skill building and networking, participants in Pathways 2 Prosperity design their own pathway out of poverty to sustainable self-reliance and resiliency.
“They are called Path Leaders, and they design a pathway which includes securing living wage employment not just a job; building savings not just paying the bills, obtaining reliable transportation not just a ride, and developing a long term solution to poverty not a short term temporary fix,” said Dianna Morrison, CSW, FSW, CEPF, the director of Pathways 2 Prosperity/Degree Up.
Pathways 2 Prosperity (P2) meets weekly, delivering educational curriculum for adults and children. Weekly meetings provide transportation, dinner and the opportunity to create peer support with fellow Path Leaders and networks across economic lines with volunteers.
Morrison said, “The P2 journey is a three phase process. Phase I begins with a motivational career and life planning curriculum where Path Leaders evaluate how poverty impacts their life and the community. Through an inventory of their personal resources they develop individualized action plans with identified dates of completion that create financial independence and family stability. They develop integrated resumes, hone their interview skills, enroll and complete education/certification programs and build the confidence they need to create change. Phase II begins with Path Leaders partnering with trained mentors who assist them in putting their Prosperity Plan into action. Weekly meetings continue with comprehensive education focusing on the skills and tools needed to make their Prosperity Plan a reality. Phase III begins as Path Leaders accomplish their goals and become mentors, committee members, and/or volunteers supporting the sustained growth of P2.”
P2 graduated have gone on to earn college credits, attain meaningful careers, reduce consumer debt, purchase homes and even stave off foreclosure.
Morrison came to NORWESCAP's Pathways 2 Prosperity in 2008. NORWESCAP stands for The Northwest New Jersey Community Action Partnership Incorporated and was created in 1965 to address poverty and those in need.
“I’ve worked within the non-profit world in Sussex County for the past 23 years,” she said. “I was actually on vacation when I received a call to become part of this innovative initiative. I was immediately drawn in and excited. The core construct of Pathways is that no significant learning happens without a significant relationship, there is no hierarchy. We all sit at the table together with the knowledge that together we can find solutions that we cannot find by ourselves. It’s a community that supports each other, challenges each other and encourages all to succeed. Every day I am inspired by the strength, courage and determination of Pathways participants as well as the commitment and generosity of our volunteers. It’s an honor.”
An example of how P2 changes lives can be found in a woman named Carly.
Carly was feeling hopeless with no direction. She was unemployed, facing eviction and isolated. She felt trapped with few choices. She showed up at Pathways declaring “I’m done and giving up”. She expected nothing to change, but change it did,
Ask Carly about her life now and she will tell you, “Today is a good day, a very good day. I have an apartment. I have saved enough money to pay off my banking fine and I have a full tank of gas. I’m employed and I keep working towards living wage employment. I have money in my wallet, a paycheck to cash, a checking account and I just opened up a savings account.I can pay for my necessities and not very long ago I had nothing. I was desperate and had very little hope. Today I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished and I would never have done it without Pathways. Today is a really good day.”
In 2016, Pathways 2 Prosperity expanded its ervice to include Degree UP. Degree UP assists Sussex County Community College students in navigating through college and discovering their pathway to educational success. Services include: tutoring, study buddies, a computer lab, educational planning, individual one on one supportive educational counseling, and access to the broad array of NORWESCAP services and community resources. Degree UP workshops and empowerment based groups build self-efficacy and develop human capital skills which improve personal, academic, career and economic prospects for students. During the spring 2018 semester Degree UP provided services to over 200 students and during the first month of the fall 2018 semester, it served 59 students. Degree UP is a place where students can connect and volunteer. It’s all about students helping students succeed.
Compadres, P2 children’s program, promotes healthy social and emotional development, as well as instilling in children the inspiration and motivation needed for academic success.
Morrison said, “P2’s Youth Engagement Project (YEP) builds the skills teenagers need to face the tough issues and life-changing decisions they face, while improving their self-image, building friendships, resisting peer pressure, achieving their goals, as well as tackling the new challenges of our time, like cyberbullying and social media. YEP curriculum is interwoven with basic entrepreneurship concepts. The goal is to keep youth focused on proactive behaviors and choices that reinforce their pathway to educational and career success.”
Going forward, Morrison said, “We are planning a trip to Liberty Science Center with the children and providing services in the town of Sussex in our Sussex Seniors Building. We’ve just received a Civic Engagement grant through the State of NJ Office of Faith Based Initiatives, that will be run through Degree UP and we have a kick off event scheduled for Oct. 29th at SCCC Performing Arts Center Atrium. Our services are constantly evolving and melding based on the needs of our consumers.”
Morrison said that P2 has received a significant reduction in funds from a long standing partner so it is imperative that Carousel be successful to support the vital work of NORWESCAP Pathways 2 Prosperity and Degree UP. Tickets are $75 which includes a gourmet dinner and a ticket for the drawings. Tickets can be purchased online at or call the Pathways’ office at 973-862-6680 to learn more.
NORWESCAP/Pathways 2 Prosperity/Degree Up is located at 62 Main Street in Newton. For further information, call 973-862-6680or visit: