Photo of a man wearing a gray Nike t-shirt with short brown hair. He has a tattoo on his left arm and is standing in the entrance to his kitchen

Meet Don

Don grew up in Burlington, Vermont, and still calls it home, sharing his life with his beloved dog, Glenn Robinson, named after one of his basketball idols. He is someone who loves to make other people smile, spend time with his family, and describes himself as someone who has faced adversity head-on, learning and growing from his experiences. Don left home when he was only 12 years old. His parents struggled with alcohol and drug use, which led to Don trying hard drugs for the first time when he was 12 years old. Reflecting, Don says, “I had to learn to navigate through life with that addiction, which is something I still struggle with.”

In 2017, after six years of sobriety, Don experienced a relapse that resulted in a 15-month incarceration, lasting from December 2018 to March 2020. Before his incarceration, he grappled with finding stable housing for both himself and his daughter.

Upon his release in 2020, Don’s probation officer connected him with Pathways. Recalling his first encounter with Pathways, Don shared, “The first time I met with Pathways, they brought me to their office, and we filled out paperwork. I found everyone to be very friendly, and it was clear that they genuinely cared about me, which really helped me trust them.”

In November 2021, Don moved into his first Pathways apartment, where he was able to graduate from the DOC program ahead of schedule. By October 2023, he had transitioned into his permanent apartment, emphasizing the pivotal role of housing in his journey: “Housing has been really major for me.”

In December 2023, Don celebrated his sixth year of sobriety, a remarkable milestone in his journey that started after his relapse in 2017. Content in his new apartment, he has also set up a room for his daughter. Looking to the future, Don is hoping to establish a good routine and to utilize the local bike path more. His ultimate goal is to share his passion for basketball by teaching it to children.

When asked what he would tell people about Pathways’ who don’t know about us, he said: “Pathways is an amazing program and I personally think that it is the people that make the program amazing. The people always make me feel cared for. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

Skip Footer