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With people who know the value of education at its helm, Pathways for Children builds a foundation for the future. 

It would be easy to get bogged down by the duties of her job as president and CEO of Pathways for Children, but Sue Todd manages to remain optimistic and focused on the organization’s mission: caring for children.

“Without kids, we wouldn’t be here, right?”says Todd as she walks through the hallways of the Gloucester facility. Founded in 1967, Pathways for Children was established to provide Head Start programs, home-based childcare, and afterschool programs to financially disadvantaged children and families. In recent years, the organization has expanded its programs to include nutrition and mental health services, dental care, vision screenings, and a program for teen parents.

“I think one of the compelling things that sets us apart from other kinds of early education organizations is our commitment to the family,” says Todd. “Many programs provide excellent childcare, but…that’s where it begins and ends…We really approach [things] on an individual level.”

Pathways’ primary facility has long served five communities—Ipswich, Essex, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, and Gloucester—but last summer, it initiated Head Start programs in eight additional communities. Since July 2012, the new Beverly location has served that town along with Boxford, Topsfield, Hamilton/Wenham, Middleton, Danvers, Peabody, and Salem.

This expansion is owed to a government grant, but, unfortunately, that funding is not large enough to provide for all who are in need. This year, a $200,000 federal sequestration cut will keep 76 children out of the Head Start programs. Todd stressed that not only does this deficit keep these children from receiving educational and childcare services, but it potentially keeps the parents of those children from working.

“It’s just so unfair,” says Beth Graham, chief development officer at Pathways for Children. “These are parents who are doing all they can to provide for their family, yet we as a culture don’t have a consistent system in place to help their kids get the education they need…”

Despite setbacks, Pathways is committed to maintaining the high quality of its existing programs. Private gifts, grants, and an annual fundraising event help keep services going.

As administrators work to overcome obstacles, the children who are currently enrolled in programs serve as a testament to the seamless delivery of Pathways’ services. Smiling kids bound for a beach field trip prove that Pathways for Children remains the supportive environment it has been for over four decades.

Save the Date: This year’s Annual Fundraiser Event “Snow Ball,” December 13, Cruiseport Gloucester, 6 Rowe Sq., Gloucester, 978-282-9700,