Pathfinders


“Helping young people in need take charge of their lives, connect to others, and contribute to the community.” 
Pathfinders' Mission Statment

It’s in the Eyes (on the youth they serve in the words of Pathfinders counselors and staff).

“While they don’t speak, they communicate.” Too often, they reveal fear, anger, anxiety, and confusion. The eyes belong to the people Pathfinders works with every day; the thousands of people we serve and support every year. For the staff of Pathfinders, “the eyes of our clients are often the first things we notice.”

Over time, we find that the eyes of our young people begin to speak a different language. Where there was once confusion and sadness, there is now resiliency, hope and joy. Where others fail to see those at the edges of our society, at Pathfinders we see mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters. We see families and partners. Most of all, we see people just like you; people who hope and work for a life filled with promise, community and caring.

For forty years, Pathfinders has helped those we serve take charge of their lives, connect to others, and contribute to the community. Our programs are designed to protect youth, strengthen individuals and families, and improve the emotional and mental health of our neighbors struggling with difficult challenges. In partnership with generous individual supporters, foundations, businesses, faith communities, and government officials, more than 7,800 people each year find safety, hope and healing.

Youth homelessness in Milwaukee is an invisible, yet dramatic social problem in our city. Milwaukee’s HUD Continuum of Care reports that each night over 400 youth are homeless in Milwaukee. Some find shelter with friends and extended family, but many don’t find the shelter they need, considering that only sixteen emergency beds exist in our community. These youth are very vulnerable as they strive to meet basic needs. Two-thirds will trade sex for food or shelter within three days of living on the streets. The long term consequences in terms of educational achievement, substance abuse, violence, and mental health are staggering.

The Drop-In Center serves as home base for Street Beat, a joint project of Milwaukee’s two homeless youth programs and the only street outreach program in Milwaukee for homeless youth. The Drop-In Center provides day services to the many homeless youth encountered by shelter and outreach staff, including food, hygiene and laundry facilities, health and risk reduction resources, case management, job support and computer access. Street Beat initiates street-based case management, advocacy, and access to shelter care, housing services, employment, and educational support by meeting youth in the community where they commonly gather. The Pathfinders Youth Shelter is an eight-bed emergency shelter that provides warmth and safety to young people in need of a place to sleep at night.

What Do the Youth at Pathfinders Need?

Bus tickets, granola bars, macaroni and cheese, cereal, white t-shirts (sizes medium to 3XL), underwear for women (all sizes), boxers for men (all sizes) and black socks are items needed. St. Mary parishioners and families are welcome to make a dinner for the youth at the Drop-In Center on Friday nights.

View Pathfinders' Website