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Summit County woman's business helps young adults get on the path to success

Summit County woman's business helps young adults get on the path to success
Posted at 5:17 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 18:26:02-05

AKRON, Ohio — As young people transition from high school, maybe to college, and then to adulthood it can be hard for them to know which path to take.

A Summit County woman’s business is helping them navigate life’s twists and turns.

Patricia Wicks is the founder and CEO of PATHworks Ohio in Akron.

“PATHworks helps parents and mentors help young adults be adult ready, period,” said Wicks. “PATHworks stands for developing your purpose, your attitude, your tenacity and your hope, which are hope relationships. And when you have that going for you, it works—so PATHworks."

Wicks and her team help young people get ready for adulthood through a series of programs like academic coaching, test prep strategies and others geared towards managing stress by helping them find the force within.

“The word that I will use is 'walk alongside.' I love Yoda, I appreciate Yoda’s mentorship of Luke Skywalker in that Yoda wasn't the hero. Yoda — you don't even necessarily see him. He was hanging out where he lived,” said Wicks. “Luke was on his journey of life. So we are on our own journeys of life and it's a blessing to find hope relationships, people, places and opportunities that move us forward and push us back. I argue you need both so that you can build coping skills and make solid decisions from those experiences.”

“PATHworks walks with people, I don't intention something for someone. My team doesn't go in and say, ‘Hey, I'm looking at you. I did an assessment — my social worker brain — and these are the things that you need or should be doing.’ That’s not what we do,” said Wicks.

Over the last 12 years, Wicks has helped more than 800 families on their journeys in Northeast Ohio and surrounding states.

"On the family support and youth development side — definitely word of mouth. We do partner with different school districts across Northeast Ohio and we provide services to them in-building, but also provide our materials for them to refer students to us," said Wicks. “We also just knock on doors and say, 'Hello, I'm in the community,' volunteering, supporting different organizations, being speakers, you know, so people learn who we are and what we offer."

Howard Neal and his grandson Isaiah joined the program in August. Wicks has been helping Isaiah navigate college prep. Neal said her help has been a gamechanger for his grandson, who is a member of the National Honor Society and just received a $100,000 scholarship offer from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

“This has given him a sense of ownership to what he's doing. And it's giving him a sense, to me, a gaining of self-confidence,” said Neal. “Because it was a pretty dysfunctional situation that Patricia came into. And I think she's brought some functionality to a dysfunctional situation.”

Wicks has also served as a mentor to Tyeal Howell.

She’s a former intern and an alumna of PATHworks, and is now both a business owner and a marketing and communications professional in Atlanta.

She credits her success to PATHworks and Wicks.

“I cannot imagine life without Miss Patricia, to be honest. She's really helped me,” said Howell. “I learned a lot of lessons from Miss Patricia, just on the way that I thought about the world, the way that I interacted with my teachers, my employer, my coworkers, my friends, my partnerships.”

For Wicks, seeing her students bloom with her guidance gives her ultimate satisfaction and reinforces that she herself is on the right path.

“One hundred percent, our focus is from the inside out. So we're seeking to draw the person to themselves, if that makes sense. And we really flow with where they are,” said Wicks.

More information about PATHworks Ohio can be found here.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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