Pictured: Shana Fair, Byesville Rotary President, and Zac Anderson, Pathways Fellowship Teen Center.
Two of the six main areas of focus for Rotary service projects are supporting education and saving children. The subject of Zac Anderson’s presentation at a recent Byesville Rotary meeting was of special interest to club members because Anderson is making a difference in both these areas. To hear him speak is to see how deeply he feels about inspiring each child to go beyond their limits and become successful, happy people
Anderson speaks passionately about his work with kids. He explained that many young people in our county do not have parents able to give their kids the kind of support his parents gave him. Anderson has been instrumental in establishing the Pathways Fellowship Teen Center, a 501 3C, offering kids a safe place to spend time, Mondays through Thursdays from 4:00 pm—8:00 pm.
Anderson’s goal is to make sure all kids feel loved and to inspire them to go beyond their limits. His non-profit organization offers kids 13-21 (if they are still in school) time to do homework, tutors to help with the homework, activities such as kick ball, cornhole, ping-pong, art therapy 2 times a week, and an opportunity to build new relationships and make new friends.
Pathways is solely a volunteer organization. Between 20-30 people regularly show up to provide adult supervision and help out at the Pathways building. Another 50-60 teachers volunteer to be available to tutor from 4:00 to 5:00 pm
Anderson provides a loving, safe, “home” atmosphere at Pathways. In addition, he sets rules that the youngsters must observe. This ensures that the Pathways Center provides a consistent structure for the kids. Anderson’s rules include homework first; then fun. No swearing; no fighting or arguing; no drugs; no open containers are allowed; no vaping. He discourages electronic devices and use of wi-fi because the goal is for kids to interact with other kids and with the adult volunteers.
Because the Pathways Fellowship is a faith-based organization, financial support must come from independent donors. Anderson cannot get grants from the state. The organization is funded by donations from churches, private individuals, and fundraisers. Their next fundraiser is August 24. Anderson hopes the fundraiser will be successful enough that he can hold just one a year. He pointed out that this year’s fundraiser has the support of 40 businesses and includes an auction, fun for the kids—bounce house, miniature golf—a raffle for a family to attend an OSU game and a taco dinner.