Matthew %40finish lineMatthew, a participant with Pathways to Independence, is soft spoken and can be hesitant to interact with people, but loves to be out in the community and in the company of others. Pathways to Independence (PTI) supports the development of skills that positively impact the lives of adults with disabilities who seek greater independence and social success.


“I decided to join PTI to discover new things, meet new people and go to new places,” Matthew says. He participates regularly in the Social Growth program, where he goes to several events per month around the St. Louis area to develop social skills and friendships. After being a part of PTI for a little over a year Matthew says, “it is easier for me to talk to other people…I have more confidence.”


PTI staff creates the monthly calendar of Social Growth events with a wide variety of activities designed to reinforce and teach specific skills such as cash handling, time management, conversation skills, decision making, teamwork and many others. Matthew says, “I like all the staff and they are helpful and cheerful. They introduce me to new people.”


Matthew is an avid runner and plans on running in the Hollywood Dash.  He started cross country and track in high school and continues to run regularly.  “I’ve run four half marathons and two full marathons, the Chicago and New York…I enjoy running, It makes me feel free and I am doing my own thing.”


science centerHe has also been able to adapt what he has learned at PTI outside of planned events. He says, “I feel more comfortable asking other people questions when my family has guests over.” Though he has been involved for a short time, Matthew has utilized PTI to expand his social circle and more fully experience his community. “PTI is a lot of fun, a good place to know people, make new friends and it is a good way to get to know what is out in the world.”