Celebrating Disability Pride Month: Embracing Inclusivity and Empowerment

by pathforward July 11, 2024
13:38 PM

July is a month of celebration and reflection for many as it marks Disability Pride Month, a time dedicated to honoring the diverse and vibrant community of individuals with disabilities. This month-long observance offers an opportunity to recognize the contributions of disabled individuals, challenge societal stigmas, and promote a culture of inclusivity and empowerment.


 The Origins of Disability Pride Month


Disability Pride Month commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. The ADA is a landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all places open to the general public. The passage of the ADA was a significant victory for the disability rights movement, paving the way for greater accessibility and equality.


 What is Disability Pride?


Disability Pride is about more than just acknowledging the existence of disabilities; it's about celebrating the uniqueness and strength of disabled individuals. It involves embracing disabilities as a natural and valuable part of human diversity. Disability Pride encourages disabled individuals to feel confident in their identity, to advocate for their rights, and to celebrate their contributions to society.


 The Importance of Visibility and Representation


One of the key aspects of Disability Pride Month is increasing visibility and representation. Media and popular culture have historically underrepresented or misrepresented disabled individuals, often portraying them in stereotypical or negative ways. Disability Pride Month is a time to highlight positive and diverse representations of disabled people in all areas of life, from the arts and entertainment to politics and business.


Representation matters because it shapes public perceptions and attitudes. When disabled individuals see themselves represented in empowering and authentic ways, it can foster a sense of belonging and pride. Moreover, visibility helps to challenge and dismantle harmful stereotypes and biases that contribute to discrimination and exclusion.


 Promoting Accessibility and Inclusion


Disability Pride Month also serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for accessibility and inclusion. While significant progress has been made since the ADA's enactment, many barriers still exist. Physical accessibility, digital inclusion, and equitable opportunities in education and employment are critical areas that require continuous attention and improvement.


Organizations and communities can play a crucial role in promoting accessibility and inclusion by implementing policies and practices that accommodate diverse needs. This includes everything from ensuring physical spaces are accessible to providing assistive technologies and creating inclusive work environments.


Disability Pride Month is a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of disabled individuals, to raise awareness about the importance of accessibility and inclusion, and to challenge the stigmas and barriers that still exist. By embracing disability pride, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society for everyone. So, let's come together this July to honor the strength, resilience, and diversity of the disability community.


Current News


by pathforward March 12, 2024
14:52 PM

Crystal has had the privilege of working with individuals with special needs for nearly two decades. It's not just a career for her; it's a heartfelt passion. Over the years, she has gained diverse experience in various settings, including schools, personal assistance services, respite care, behavioral tech, and more. For the past nine years, her focus has been on residential and PDS services, where she had the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those she served.

 My family and I have a deep desire to open our home and hearts to someone in need. With three wonderful children aged 22, 17, and 11, and a menagerie of animals including dogs, sheep, chickens, and cats, our home is a vibrant and nurturing environment. We live in Shelby County, offering both tranquility and accessibility to Louisville and Frankfort.

  Our family enjoys a variety of activities, from visiting the zoo and Kentucky Kingdom to participating in 4-H events and exploring the great outdoors on our eight acres of land. While I often find myself engaged in activities outside of home, my husband, a self-proclaimed homebody, provides a comforting presence for those who prefer quieter moments.

 Our home is designed to accommodate individuals with diverse needs, with a wheelchair-accessible ramp and an open floor plan for easy navigation. We're excited to embark on this new journey as family home providers, offering a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.


by pathforward March 5, 2024
11:45 AM

Lena is a light hearted woman with 20 years DSP experience and 5 years’ experience as a FHP with Path Forward of KY in Frankfort, KY. She currently has one consumer, and 1 daughter living in the home she shares with her partner, Matt and their 2 dogs. She enjoys movies, shopping and playing in the outdoors.


by pathforward February 7, 2024
11:19 AM

Robin lives in Carlisle, KY with her husband and their daughter. Their other three children are grown. Robin works part-time in a school\residence for adults with intellectual disabilities and believes she has found her life calling. Nothing would make her happier than to devote herself to an individual full-time in her home. She has a baby granddaughter and an active family, so someone who likes to be out some and interact with others would be a good match for Robins' family lifestyle. (However, their favorite thing is cozy days inside so there would be plenty of that too.)

Robin has a large guest room downstairs close to the bathroom and kitchen. 


Empowering Independence and Success after High School: KEY Academy

by pathforward May 3, 2023
15:16 PM

For many individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, high school graduation can be both exciting and daunting. While they have achieved an important milestone, they may also face the uncertainty of what comes next. Path Forward of KY saw the need to work to develop a program that would help meet the needs of young adults to help them grow to be independent in areas of employment, independent living, post-secondary education, and self-advocacy. KEY Academy will provide support, resources, and training to help individuals achieve independence and success in their post-high school lives. This programs is tailored to meet the unique needs and goals of each individual and will include vocational training, life skills instruction, and community engagement opportunities. The benefits of transition programs are numerous and can have a lasting impact on individuals and their families. One of the most important aspects of transition programs is vocational training. KEY Academy will provide individuals the opportunity to learn vocational skills that can lead to meaningful employment. Vocational training may include hands-on experience, job coaching, and career exploration. Individuals who receive vocational training are better equipped to find and maintain employment, which can have a positive impact on their overall well-being, including increased self-esteem and financial stability. By participating in the KEY Academy 2-year program, individuals can develop the skills they need to live independently, find meaningful employment, and participate in their communities. If you are interested in unlocking your future with the key to success, you can find out more information on our website. Also follow Path Forward of KY on Facebook to get the latest updates on this new program starting in Bowling Green this fall! Fill out this form if you would like more information about the KEY Academy program. https://forms.gle/R1NJ7WjtfxrStjtX9




by pathforward March 16, 2022
09:58 AM

Ollie is an experienced male caregiver who likes to be on-the-go. He is located in the Louisville area and is looking for a male participant to join his household. He currently lives with another male participant and has no pets. He loves spending time with his 15- and 18-year-old children every other weekend. Ollie lives in a townhouse and has an available bedroom upstairs. He works full time at JCPS, outside of the home. He enjoys coaching golf to middle schoolers and you can find him on the golf course when the weather in nice. He is okay with a participant who smokes, as long as they are willing to smoke outside.

Family Home Providers

by pathforward March 9, 2022
16:05 PM

We will be posting more information in this section soon about our Family Home Provider openings. 

The Student Becomes the Teacher!

by pathforward June 22, 2021
08:46 AM

By Tammy Ritchie and Cheryl Steenerson


Our friend Eric discovered his love of art several years ago and he has progressed his talent so much that he now teaches others!


Eric is a shy young man with a very caring heart. He started learning about art from his DSP, who was a former teacher. He never knew how much he could do, and the beauty he could create, until then.


His painting skills have progressed so much that with some positive encouragement he offered to share his skills with a few others. The wonders of Zoom have enabled him to connect with new friends and their staff. Some friends are still quarantining at home and this was a wonderful opportunity for them to interact safely!


Eric recently started teaching very young students, with parental approval, how to paint pictures and learn about the wonderful world of colors. He has also been meeting new adult consumers who also have artistic talents to share. This new endeavor has truly expanded Eric’s socialization and communication skills.

Supported Employment Works!

by pathforward June 18, 2021
12:00 PM


By: Pamela R. McDaniel

Work gives individuals a sense of purpose and self-worth. For many, it defines who we are, and how we fit into society.  Work helps improve individual and family finances, and it helps us connect socially. All individuals, regardless of disability, deserve the opportunity to be full members of their community where they can live, learn, work and play at every stage of life their life.

We are so proud of the people we support!  Our supported employment specialist serve to help individuals find and maintain gainful employment in the community to create more fulfilling lives for themselves.


Larry – A Natural Born Worker

Day one of working at Moon Dumpsters, Larry’s supervisor was so impressed with his work, that he contacted the head owner.  Larry’s supervisor reported to the owner, that Larry not only did his job, but he took the initiative to complete other task without being told.  The owner askes to speak with Larry, and gave him the highest compliment telling him, “Larry, I’ve heard nothing but good news about you.  You are the best worker we have hired in a long time.  Keep up the good work!”  Having this job makes Larry feel more independent, and responsible.  “I am working to build my finances, and put my life back together so that I can get a place of my own.  I feel blessed to have a job”, Larry stated.  Regardless of what his background looks like, Larry decides to seek help, and move forward to better himself, and become a productive member of society.


Austin – Gaining Confidence and Building Skills

Austin has been employed at his first job at Goodwill for two months. Austin is diagnosed with Autism and suffers from anxiety, especially in unfamiliar places. Supported employment orientation/training helped him to have a good start with his job assignments.  Austin’s supervisor is pleased with him and his work. Recently, she stated, “Austin is wonderful and a pleasure to have. Everyone loves him and he keeps all of us laughing. He is phenomenal!" Austin enjoys his job and is happy that it is a great fit for him.  Working has improved Austin’s ability to socialize with co-workers, and build relationships that he would not have otherwise had.


Lana – First Job to Independence

Stuffing from a traumatic brain injury, Lana was total hands on when she came to the supported employment program.  She started her first job at Marshall’s about six months ago, requiring prompts, redirecting, and constant supervision.  After working with the employment specialist, we are happy to report that Lana is completing her task without being told.  She has taken on more job task at work, allowing her to realize how much she can learn and do on her own.


Supported employment is about helping people with significant disabilities enter or re-enter the labor force.  Individuals who participate in our supported employment program are encouraged, equipped, and empowered in the gifts, and talents God has placed in them.  We pride ourselves on seeing ability, and not disability!

3rd Thursday Social Club is Back!

by pathforward June 15, 2021
11:37 AM

By Cheryl Steenerson, PFK Bluegrass Region Coordinator

As 2019 rolled in, I began to realize just how few opportunities existed for our adult consumers to socialize and make new friends, after they left school. That’s when the 3rd Thursday Social Club was born.

Though PFK started it, we only organize and execute it, because we wanted to open it up to all adult IDD folks in the Bluegrass area. Any adult on the Waiver can attend, along with their staff.

Though 2020 got hijacked from us, 2019 saw lots of fun activities and attendees. On the 3rd Thursday of each month we would gather for a meal and a fun afternoon activity like visiting the Bluegrass Airport Museum, touring Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory, The Movie Tavern, 3D printing, pizza and bowling, crafting and painting. Each event is kept low cost and each participant pays their own way, if there is a fee.

Now that 2021 has arrived, we already have one done! On Thursday, May 20th, the group met at the Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort for an outdoor picnic and tour of the grounds.

It was a perfect day with plenty of sunshine and even a light breeze! Participants brought their own lunch and then followed the map to see numerous astounding works, complete with information signs explaining the work and the artist. Everyone had a blast!

Several of the pieces were interactive and invited the participants to touch, climb and even sing within them. The park is a nonprofit that runs on donations. A golf cart is available for use for those with mobility issues. They also have classes and events, both day and night, to introduce visitors to a variety of art and even understanding the night sky!

Many events for 2021 are in the works including Shaker Village (Harrodsburg), The Living Arts & Science Center (Lexington), lake fishing (Richmond) and the River Cruise (Frankfort). Suggestions for events are encouraged from the participants. 

It’s a whole new world, and we’re getting through it!

by pathforward May 1, 2020
14:20 PM

Working virtually really is a whole new world for many, especially for our consumers. Just like in many households these days, the whole family is logging on to the internet, whether it be for work, school or fun. Cell phones, tablets and computers are all getting worked overtime. Internet providers are doing their best to keep up and many folks have learned what a data cap means, the hard way. Still, as a provider of numerous Waiver services, PFK folks have always persevered all challenges to maintain quality of life services for those in our care.

 Our consumers mean the world to us and helping them cope with so many changes to daily lives is no small feat. Many thrive on a daily routine. Change is not easily accepted, let alone understood. Some are non-communicative, some are deaf and some are visually impaired. Whether it’s an intellectual or developmental disability, the privilege of teaching these consumers is in our hands.

 Our talented Direct Support Providers (DSPs) have really stepped up their game, in order to help our consumers. Not only are they making sure the consumer remains safe and healthy at home, they are adapting their teaching styles so that learning can still take place. Methods of communication that allows for face to face viewing helps tremendously.

 Sometimes just seeing their DSP on screen helps reduce anxiety. Some DSPs have even stood outside home windows looking in, while they chatted on the phone to the consumer. DSPs have loaned web cameras to consumers so they can see teachers, therapists and case managers. Some have made home cooked meals and delivered to their families needing help.

Those things aren’t listed in any Plan of Care or job description. Neither is delivering hand sanitizer, masks and toilet paper. Those within our Adult Foster Care program (FHPs) even got Easter Baskets delivered!

Our DSPs take the business of changing lives to heart and their compassion is only outweighed by their creativity. We’ve got consumers making beautiful Origami art and mobiles. Some are learning to cook and bake or dance, and even more are discovering board games and puzzles, all of it virtually!


Drive along scavenger hunts have been popular, along with sidewalk messages and learning to identify bird songs, to say nothing of the virtual tours of zoos, aquariums and museums.  Art has always played a big role in our service and helps to teach a wide range of skills, along with creating something beautiful.

Making life a little more beautiful, now that’s a positive difference! During this Covid 19 time, our DSPs will continue to progress those goals, no matter the challenges before them and we only have one word for that, GRATEFUL!

Path Forward of Kentucky = Rock Solid Teamwork!

DSP Honorable Mention Award at the Annual KAPP Conference!

by pathforward September 13, 2019
11:00 AM

Path Forward of KY nominated Dejuana Trumbo for the DSP of the Year award for the annual KAPP (Kentucky Association of Private Providers) confernece. Dejuana was selected as one of 8 honorable mentions.  Dejuana is an excellent DSP who has served in our field for 10 years, the last 4 being with Path Forward. Dejuana’s quality of care is unmatched, according to guardians and supervisor. Dejuana typically works long hours with two participants, helping them progress goals daily.

The CLS participant has gone from a service life to a full community life, in less than 4 years. As her own guardian, this participant needed to learn to read, manage money, cook, get her driver’s license and manage a home. She has succeeded in all goals! After learning about healthy relationships, the participant found a life partner and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last year. Dejuana guided her through her pregnancy, from parenting skills to visiting her at the hospital (50 miles away), during the birthing process, on her own time. To say this DSP goes above and beyond the call of duty is an understatement. A shy young lady, unsure of herself in every way, the participant blossomed into a woman with a life and family thanks to the hard work and caring heart of Dejuana.

Her 2nd participant is noncommunicative, and requires assistance with all ADLs. Confined to a wheelchair and on a pureed diet, this participant enjoys listening to music and going outside on nice days. Prior to Dejuana coming into their lives, the guardian was the sole caregiver. The number of positive accolades from mom on Dejuana could fill a book! Mom has felt comfortable enough to restart her social life, after 25 years! The participant has had zero care issues and laughs with joy every day. Dejuana Trumbo is truly a gifted Direct Support Professional that succeeds in making a positive difference in the lives of her participants every day of service.

Creating a Beautiful Space!

by pathforward August 19, 2019
08:00 AM

Creating a Beautiful Space!

By Tammy Ritchie and Eric Fitzpatrick

 Creating a beautiful space is hard, especially when starting from scratch! Eric’s new home needed a garden, according to Eric because he loves watching things grow. The space was cleared, supplies purchased and the work begun. Eric learned how to use pruners, shovels, rakes and a wheelbarrow. It was hard work and Eric never complained. He choose the plants and put them in place. A bird feeder and bath was added for feathered friends to enjoy. Eric loves maintaining it and the new garden, after creating such a beautiful space!

By Jo Grayson

When I was a college professor teaching English composition courses at Eastern Kentucky University, I never put much thought into what some of my students called “green therapy.” My students would enthusiastically write about the benefits of extra recess time in elementary school as many of them would go on to become teachers of young children who need to have that time outdoors. As I would read on my own, I would read the many benefits of “green therapy" even for adults who have several disorders ranging from Attention Deficit Disorder to Depression. So when Chelsea and her friend Eric asked if I would help them build a garden, I was happy to oblige. I felt that this would be a good opportunity to learn, not only about growing your own food, but also to be able to use these plants in the kitchen. As a project my consumer and I were able to learn many things, including what building materials are required to build a raised flower bed. Together, we were able to choose a design we liked from Pinterest and have some professionals help us with using the heavy equipment required. We were able to look at prices to build the most cost effective space. Chelsea and I were able to learn how long it takes to build such a garden. She and Eric were able to choose what plants they wanted to grow. We learned about planting things too early or too late and what effects wildlife can have on a garden. We also learned about soil and fertilizer. After the garden was built they picked out what they wanted to grow, we were able to plant herbs and some vegetables. All in all, this project has helped Chelsea learn new things as well as being a fun project that will benefit Chelsea for years to come, as we learn each year from trail and error.

Employee Spotlight: Melinda Brightwell and Brian Parker

by pathforward August 19, 2019
08:00 AM



In this edition of our employee spotlight, we would like to introduce two of our program coordinators: Melinda Brightwell and Brian Parker. Mendy oversees services including family home provider and ABI companion care. Brian oversees community living supports, respite, community access, personal assistance, personal care and homemaker services. They oversee these services in the Louisville, Elizabethtown, Bardstown and Bowling Green areas. Mendy and Brian utilize their wealth of experience and demonstrate teamwork, compassion and hard work on a daily basis to ensure each consumer we serve receives quality individualized services. We asked them to share what being a service provider means to them. Here is what their journey means to them in their own words:




I have been in this field for a little over 16 years. After working in the school system for 8 years, I went to work for an agency as a direct support professional. I loved being a DSP, getting to know clients, and building relationships with teams. I then became a house manager, an ADT assistant Director and then started providing medical coordination with the nurse, before coming here to Path Forward. Being a service provider to me means that you look out for your clients and you do whatever you need to do to make sure that their needs are met. I love working in this field. It is so rewarding seeing our clients having meaningful lives and doing things that they want to do such as going on vacations and being able to get out into the community and do the things they choose to do. As the residential coordinator, I love to see my clients placed in a home where they are happy, feel support, and have the family life that some of them have never had before.  The life lesson that I have gained from working in this field is that never take anything for granted and always be grateful for the people that you have in your life, sometimes you don’t realize the impact that you can have on someone’s life just by being there.



Bring a service provider to me means helping build positive relationships with the consumers we serve, their staff and team members, and the community.  It means helping the people we serve reach their greatest potential and goals. It means advocating for the consumers we serve to have the fundamental rights that everyone else has.  Being in the human service field for the last 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes for the better over the years for the consumers we serve.  Generational perspectives have changed regarding acceptance, advocacy, community inclusion, and overall quality of life for the consumers we serve.  During my journey in this field, I have seen a lot from working in an institutional style facility, establishing staff residences, group homes, being a behavioral technician, house manager, residential director(for over 30 houses), and program director(overseeing a residential program, ADT program, FHP program).  There were a lot of good memories made, even through the difficult times.  Human growth for the consumers we serve and contractors is what I remember most.  I am a pretty laid back kind of guy but patience, listening, and promotion of the best version of myself daily are lessons I have gained on this journey that transcends into my everyday life.


10 Years and Counting!

by pathforward August 15, 2019
08:00 AM

10 Years and Counting!

By Alex Sholtz


Path Forward of KY was founded in January 2009 with the goal to provide effective and individualized services to people with disabilities. We began in Louisville with Supported Employment and then as the years passed we continued to add services and 3 new regions, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown and the Bluegrass. 10 years on, we now offer Case Management, Behavior Supports, Personal Care, Community Living Supports, Respite Services, Community Access, Acquired Brain Injury Services, Family Home Providers, Ticket to Work and an even more thriving Supported Employment Service, in three Regions. 


This decade of work has grown our great team of staff and contractors that embody our mission, vision and values. With a leadership team boasting of more than 75 years of experience in Human Services, and having Brittany lead us on our journey, we look forward to building even greater services and Regions for the exceptional people that we serve. When you get right down to it, it’s all because of rock solid teamwork. After all, that’s the PFK Way!

A College Graduate!

by pathforward August 12, 2019
08:00 AM


Denise Knight and Teresa Lonkard


Paulette has always been passionate about learning and about achieving her goals. When she learned about the College Connections program through Down Syndrome of Louisville with a partnership with JCTC, she knew she wanted to be a part of it. On May 23, 2019, after almost 3 years of hard work and determination, Paulette celebrated graduating college at Jefferson Community and Technical College. Paulette enjoyed taking part in classes including Life Skills, which she attended with several of her peers. She then chose a variety of integrated courses including African American Music History, Drawing, and History of Rock and Roll. She reported that she loved her music classes and learned a lot. After giving a speech during her ceremony about what graduating meant to her, she celebrated her accomplishment with her family home provider and her siblings. She said it was a “great day” and she was sure to let all of her friends know about her graduation. Paulette shared that her mother had always told her that she could graduate college and she wanted to complete the program for her mother.  Paulette is excited to have her certificate of completion and to be a college graduate. She is ready to go out and change the world. Congratulations Paulette!



The Bluegrass Does It Again!

by pathforward August 9, 2019
11:17 AM


The Bluegrass Does It Again!

The Bluegrass Region of PFK held their annual Fun & Fit Field Day in June at Lawrenceburg’s Splash Park and BOY was it fun! Each year DSPs, consumers and their families are invited to participate in a day of healthy food and fun physical exercise.


This year, over 35 participated in the Splash Park antics along with Frisbee fun, beach ball volleyball, hula hooping, jump roping, water balloon fights and best of all making giant bubbles!

Healthy salads, fresh fruits, chicken, grilled garden veggies and turkey dogs beat out avocado chocolate pudding, brownies and watermelon slushies, only by a nose!


Even Wiggles, the Humane Society’s mascot showed up to give hugs and get pictures taken. Path Forward of KY is proud to offer this free and fun event that not only promotes opportunities for learning about healthy choices in an inclusive environment, but grows socialization skills for our wonderful consumers while on their road to success! At PFK, we’ll make the journey with you!




The Bluegrass Does It Again!

by pathforward August 9, 2019
11:17 AM


The Bluegrass Does It Again!

The Bluegrass Region of PFK held their annual Fun & Fit Field Day in June at Lawrenceburg’s Splash Park and BOY was it fun! Each year DSPs, consumers and their families are invited to participate in a day of healthy food and fun physical exercise.


This year, over 35 participated in the Splash Park antics along with Frisbee fun, beach ball volleyball, hula hooping, jump roping, water balloon fights and best of all making giant bubbles!

Healthy salads, fresh fruits, chicken, grilled garden veggies and turkey dogs beat out avocado chocolate pudding, brownies and watermelon slushies, only by a nose!


Even Wiggles, the Humane Society’s mascot showed up to give hugs and get pictures taken. Path Forward of KY is proud to offer this free and fun event that not only promotes opportunities for learning about healthy choices in an inclusive environment, but grows socialization skills for our wonderful consumers while on their road to success! At PFK, we’ll make the journey with you!




Employee Spotlight: Teresa Lonkard and Breanna Burton Case Managers

by pathforward May 22, 2019
09:00 AM

In this edition of our employee spotlight, we would like to introduce our two case managers: Teresa Lonkard and Breanna Burton. Teresa and Breanna focus on advocacy for each individual they work with and ensure teamwork and continuity of quality of care for everyone on their caseloads. Their passion for helping others shines through in their work every day, as they assist others to achieve their goals and dreams. Here is what their journey has meant to them in their own words:

Teresa Lonkard

My best friend, Sean, has a rare form of Cerebral Palsy wherein he is primarily wheelchair bound, but has no cognitive symptoms. We met in college and he now does computer security for a large insurance company. Throughout college and afterwards people would often assume I was his girlfriend or care provider and direct questions towards me. They were usually surprised when Sean responded or when they found out I was just a friend. Though being friends with him, and his twin brother, who has a mild intellectual disability, I learned a lot about a population I rarely interacted with and started seeing individuals as more than just their appearance. After about two years of being friends with Sean, I didn’t see or think about his disability. I once turned around to tell him to hurry up when I was going up some steps because I forgot he wasn’t able to follow me and had to wait for the elevator. He told me it was both hilarious and one of the biggest compliments he could ever receive.

I’ve been working in the human services field for almost 4 years (since June 2015). I started by working as a Mental Health technician at Our Lady of Peace. It could be a tough job, but without working there, I don’t think I would love or be as successful as a case manager. I love advocating for my clients, solving problems and finding ways to maximize services. It means a lot to me that I’m just one person, but can start a chain reaction of improvements in someone’s life.

Seeing a client, who developed anorexia, for the first time after he started receiving behavior supports, has been the most memorable moment I’ve had since being in their field. This client has recently been hospitalized due to how much weight he had lost. After working with his behaviorist for a few weeks, he was already began to change his habits. He looked much healthier, happier and said he felt better than he had in the past few months.

Through this line of work, I’ve learned to see what people are capable of, not just what they are currently doing. Since many clients struggle with effective communication I’ve become more observant of body language and am a better communicator. I always try to ensure I understand specifically what a client wants/thinks along with the rest of the team through re-phrasing statements and questions. This has also helped me in my everyday life, as I can often find a way to explain something in a way everyone can understand regardless of his or her level of functioning. I’ve also gained knowledge of the Medicaid and Social Security systems and benefits, which I’ve been able to utilize when I speak with my friends or family members who have disabilities or are unsure for what benefits they qualify. I’ve been able to assist individuals outside of work with locating information and providing resources/guidance concerning benefits.


Breanna Burton:

To me, being a service provider is a big deal. It’s about meeting people’s needs and promoting overall quality of life for the people you work with. No matter what population you’re working with, being a service provider means devoting your days to helping people who need support. To be a service provider means you need to have passion and it should not be taken lightly. I’ve been working in the human service field for the past four years and it has been the most rewarding four years of my life.

I have so many favorite moments since being in the human service field but the most memorable would have to be when one of the consumers I was providing community living support services for texted me months after I stopped working with him to show me that he passed his drivers’ permit test. I had been working with him for a year and we spent a lot of time together studying for his drivers’ permit test. He took it a few times and kept failing by one or two points. When I saw that he finally passed, I was so happy for him and it warmed my heart knowing that he made it a point to share his good news with me although we hadn’t talked or seen one another in a few months.

Everyone’s life is different. Everyone has a story. Each person’s life events, from the day they were born to the age they are now, has shaped them into the person they are today. Show compassion and be intentional about your everyday interactions with others. You never know how much impact you can make on someone’s life.

Saul the Service Dog

by pathforward May 1, 2019
10:59 AM

Thatcher is eleven years old and has Autism, which comes with a host of issues from sensory processing disorder to non-verbalism. For Thatcher’s family, this can lead to very dangerous situations where Thatcher doesn’t know how to cope with the world around him, and therefore, runs in whatever direction, without understanding the danger. This is why in 2013, I, Thatcher’s mother, began the journey to obtaining a service dog. The first step in that process was research, which led me 4 Paws for Ability, Inc. located in Xenia, Ohio. I began by filling out an application and qualifying. Then I began fundraising. I did several fundraisers with organizations like Yankee Candles, Thirty One, and Bravelets. I also sold candy bars and our family made an appearance on our local news station. Once we got to our goal and had completed all the necessary paperwork and requirements (some videos of Thatcher’s life and a prescription from Thatcher’s doctor), we were placed in a class that took place in November 2017. This two-week training course was where we met Saul, the best dog for Thatcher’s needs, who has now become a huge part of our family. During our two weeks of training, we were required to stay within a 30-minute drive of the training facility. There we learned how to drive Saul. He knew all of his commands, but now, we, his new family would also need to learn them. We learned the basics, like heal, sit, leave it, and implied stay, but what we also learned was over and down, a command to help when Thatcher is having a meltdown. In this command, Saul lays on Thatcher to provide deep pressure and calm him quicker. Saul is also trained to be tethered to Thatcher, which keeps Thatcher from wandering off when we are out in public, but most importantly, Saul is trained to “find his boy.” This task is meant for when Thatcher goes missing. Saul can be commanded to find him using Thatcher’s scent alone. This is the most important thing for us because over half of children who have Autism wander from the safety of their caretakers and many of the children who go missing are drawn to water and drown. Now, Saul helps keep Thatcher safe every day. The two are never separated and now often act like brothers, which is worth all of the hard work it took to get Saul. If you would like more information on how to get your child a service dog, please go to http://www.4pawsforability.org.

Participant Spotlight: Eric and Chelsea's Art

by pathforward March 11, 2019
09:00 AM

Chelsea, Eric and I first met in an art studio years ago. They both were very active and enthusiastic about trying different types of art. Since that time it’s been my honor to work with them outside of that studio and we’ve continued to use art as a means to relax, study and give away as gifts. We’ve painted wine glasses, done wood burning, and used a variety of mediums to create different pieces.


     Eric: I like to do art to make myself and others happy. I painted a portrait of my friend’s father after he passed away and she loved it. Working on art is fun to do. I have no favorite type of art. It’s like food, I like to try different things. When I paint I like to do characters from movies or design my own. One day I’d like to design characters for a video game.



     Chelsea: Art relaxes me. I also like to make crafts for myself and others. I really like to make yarn hair bands and other items for my reborn doll. Sketching Anime is one of my favorite activities. After a car accident, I was afraid I couldn’t do art again, but it has helped strengthen my hand and arm and I’m getting better than I was before I broke my arm.

by: Deb Owens, DSP

Community Activity @ painting with a Twist by Chelsea 

Acrylic painting by Eric

Wine glass painted by Eric 


Wood burning and watercolor by Chelsea 

Private Pay Services

by pathforward January 31, 2019
09:00 AM

The Supports for Community Living Waiver and the Michelle P waiver are Medicaid paid services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. These waivers are intended to assist individuals to live and participate in the community rather than in an institutional setting. Currently, there is a waiting list for both the SCL and MP waivers. There are close to 7000 people on the MP Waiver waitlist and 2500 on the SCL waitlist.

Path Forward of KY is now offering a private pay option for people who need and want individualized services but are not on a Medicaid waiver. We are offering all services that we currently provide through the waivers by the same direct support professionals who provide waiver services.

The services that Path Forward of KY provides are:

Community Living Supports/Personal Assistance/Companion Care: a one on one service that enables an individual to accomplish tasks to increase independence and promote integration into the community. This service offers support and assistance with routine household tasks, maintenance, activities of daily living, shopping, socialization, relationship building, leisure choices, and participation in community activities.

Case Management: assists individuals with disabilities navigate services, benefits, medical appointments, and advocates on behalf of the individual.

Respite: support needed due to the absence of or need for relief for the primary caregiver.

Behavior Support: professionally trained behavior specialist use positive approaches and ABA therapy techniques to help decrease challenging behaviors and increase coping skills and social skills.

Supported Employment: ongoing job support after funding is no longer available through Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. We will assist the individual in maintaining employment in an integrated setting with competitive wages.


If you are interested in learning more about our private pay services you can contact our office at 502-451-2565 or email info@pathforwardky.com

Celebrating 10 Years in Business.. A Decade of Difference!

by pathforward January 23, 2019
10:46 AM

In 2008, the face of the global economy changed forever. America was in the height of the 2008 Recession.  Investment banks, the secondary credit market, and an unregulated financial market disappeared. The housing market collapsed. Central banks around the world propped up the financial system. In September of that year, America came very close to total economic collapse. New inventions still made a difference! 2008 saw a camera for the blind, electric cars, instant replay for baseball, No Country for Old Men won Critic’s Choice Best Film and Alex Sholtz and Jim Bratcher rolled up their sleeves and started the work to establish the very successful Path Forward of Kentucky!


The first service to be offered by PFK was Supported Employment. This service assists consumers in navigating the State’s Vocational Rehabilitation program and puts them on a path of employment, out in their communities, by providing job coaches. Today, the coaches guide consumers thru the entire employment process, from resumes to interviewing and finally on-the-job support for over 94 job placements in 2018.


Case Management services followed Supported Employment and today works with 34 consumers to put together a full menu of waiver services. Community Living Supports, Personal Care and Respite services were then added and exponentially grew the company, by hiring and training Direct Support Professionals throughout the Louisville Metro Region. These services help consumers become as independent as possible, in all aspects of their life, as well as provide their guardians with essential breaks from 24/7 care.


Acquired Brain Injury Waivers joined the list not long after, followed by residential services in the form of Family Home Providers. By 2012, Path Forward of KY had grown around Kentucky to include Supported Employment services in the Bowling Green Region and created the Bluegrass Region, serving 10 counties in central KY for both Michelle P and Supports for Community Living waiver services.


After getting the company up and running, like a well-oiled machine, the Executive Director position was handed down in 2013 from Alex to Brittany Knoth, our current ED. Brittany has led the way in professional development and team building while establishing the name of Path Forward as a respected leader in the field of Medicaid Services. In 2018, Brittany was honored by being selected to serve on the Centralized Quality Management Advisory Subpanel for the Medicaid Waivers Redesign. Today, Brittany excels in both management style and substance, leading growth and rock solid teamwork!



Over this past decade, PFK has grown to be financially sound by using a common sense approach while keeping quality and compassion top of mind. As chief motivator, Jim Bratcher, likes to say, “The main thing is and always will be the main thing at PFK; the folks we serve. That will always be our focus!”

Touching the lives of more than 200 consumers and guardians, closing in on half a million hours of service, PFK has a well-earned reputation of fine service driven by teamwork. We can’t wait to see what the next decade holds in store for us.



Family Home Provider competing for the grand prize on AFHV!

by pathforward January 13, 2019
09:00 AM

It is not every day that you get an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood to tape a TV show! That is exactly what Melissa Healy, a PFK family home provider, got to do in early December. It all started when she was just having fun with her family and playing with her three dogs. She posted a funny video of her 13-year-old dog, Mocha, on social media and it quickly gained attention and a lot of comments. One of those comments suggested that Melissa post her video on the America’s Funniest Home Videos website. Melissa thought, “why not?” and sent the video to them one night and did not think much else of it. Two weeks later, Melissa got a call from the show and was told that not only did the producers want the video on the show, but that she would be a finalist! “I was in disbelief,” reported Melissa, “I never thought I would have an opportunity like this in my life.” America’s Funniest Home Videos gets over 5,000 video submissions each week and there is a less than 1% chance of being a finalist on the show. Melissa enjoyed her first time on an airplane, traveling to Hollywood for the taping of the episode, and sightseeing at places like Manhattan Beach and Hollywood Boulevard for the remainder of that weekend. She got to bring her husband, Steve, with her on the trip and Melissa said it was “one of the most exciting things they have done together in their 28 years of marriage.” They even got to meet host Alfonso Ribeiro and take pictures with him. Be sure to tune in to America’s Funniest Home Videos on Sunday, January 13th at 7pm on ABC to see Melissa compete for the grand prize!

Christmas Party

by pathforward December 28, 2018
13:49 PM

Path Forward held their annual Christmas party at the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Louisville for their employees. It is always great to come together with employees outside of the workplace to celebrate the year, holiday, and accomplishments. We had two employee's receive their 5 Year Recognition award. Our Human Resource Manager Sarah Koenig and the Bluegrass Coordinator Cheryl Steenerson. All of the employees that have been with Path Forward for longer than 5 years were also recognized. The Employee of the year, which is voted on each year by all employees went to Melissa Thompson. Melissa is a valuable member of the PFK team.

Path Forward of Kentucky is approaching its 10th year in business in January. We are looking forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary throughout the year. We would like to thank all who have helped Path Forward have an amazing year. We would like to thank the contractors who work hard day in and out to make peoples lives better.   We would like to thank the community partners and employers who give the people we serve a chance to have employment in the community. We would like to thank the families that trust us to work with your family members. Most importantly we would like to thank the people whom we serve, thank you for trusting us to provide services. We look forward to all that we can accomplish together in the future!  As we end this year we say Thank you! We at Path Forward are truly blessed and humbled by what we get to do on a daily basis and we strive to be better each day and make improvements in the world of disabilities.



by pathforward November 23, 2018
12:39 PM

Path Forward’s Pre-ets program is headed up by Alex and Amy Scholtz. Alex and Amy has an extensive background in the employment and disability community.  Pre-Ets helps to prepare students for transition after graduation to move successfully from High School to post-school activities such as training, employment, and independent living. We are currently at Summit Academy and preparing to start at Academy for Individual Excellence. We are contracted with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to assist teaching Life Skills and Career Readiness for high school aged students in order to help better prepare them once they graduate. PFK has developed a curriculum we feel meets the guidelines set forth both by Vocational Rehab for setting realistic career and independent living goals. Some of the topics we will be learning about this school year are highlighted below in no particular order:

·         Setting realistic goals

·         18 career clusters

·         Problem solving and decision making skills

·         Post -Secondary education

·         Communication in the workplace and other relationships, different ways to communicate

·         How to plan a career

·         Making great impressions

·         Asking for accommodations

·         Do’s and Don’ts when starting a job

·         Teamwork

·         How to keep a job

·         Self Advocacy, Self Determination, Self Respect

·         Budgeting/Money Management

·         Workplace readiness (i.e. interviewing skills, writing a resume)

·         Explanation of job terms

·         Independent Living skills (living in apt, renting a house, buying a house)

·         Discussion of costs of living

·         Skills required to live on your own (housework, cooking, kitchen safety,etc)

·         Responsibilities and Rules both in the community and workplace

PFK’s curriculum was developed using a variety of resources we felt touched on all the topics mentioned above. Through research of the topics necessary to be taught and our own professional experience, we have put together weekly teachings that include an interactive lecture piece as well as a hands on activity to relate to the topic for that day.

There are many resources on Pre-ets on the Kentucky OVR website with information about how to qualify and additional resources for parents of transitioning young adults. If you have any questions about our program please contact our office at 502-451-2565



Halloween Party and Chili Cookoff

by pathforward November 2, 2018
11:30 AM

We had our annual Chili Cook-off and Halloween Party at the office on October 31st. It was a great event! There were seven chili’s entered into this year’s chili cook-off! Jamie Harris was the overall winner of the day! Her secret, I make it with ground turkey and not ground beef. Also the slower and longer it cooks, the better it tastes!


We had a fun day of dressing up and celebrating with family and friends! Thank you to all who came out to participate in the event despite the weather!



Participant Spotlight

by pathforward October 26, 2018
13:34 PM

Meet Brennen Cabrera!

Brennen is a 21 year old self-taught artist in Louisville who has autism. Brennen’s passion for art began when he was only three years old. When his mother was preaching at their church on Sunday mornings, Brennen would sit in the pews and draw with just paper, pencils, and pens. After his parents began to take notice in his artistic ability, they would buy him drawing books that allowed him to free draw. Throughout elementary school, Brennen was put in a lot of art classes and camps. Brennen learned a lot of information from those art classes and eventually gained the confidence to instruct his own water color class at his church. Brennen was only in middle school when he began instructing art classes and workshops. From then, Brennen has instructed several art workshops through Zoom Group and The Council on Developmental Disabilities. Now he teaches art to a student at the School of the Blind. In his free time when he is not teaching art or working at the local Flower Shoppe, Brennen loves to paint whatever comes to mind. Brennen believes the inspiration for his work comes from all of the different emotions he feels on a daily basis. “I want people to feel what I am painting” says Brennen. He has a lot of his paintings hanging to decorate his apartment and others that he has sold to people in the community. Brennen has had the opportunity to have one of his paintings hanging in City Hall. There will be a press release for all of the artists to showcase their art. The date for the press release is to be determined. Brennen loves being able to participate in art events that aren’t just for people who have intellectual disabilities, because he wants people to know that his autism doesn’t define him as a person. “I want my art to be reflected as great art, not ‘great art for someone who has autism’” Brennen says. Path Forward loves seeing Brennen sharing his art work with the Louisville community. His unique personality is expressed in all of his artwork and gives us a glimpse of who Brennen is. Thanks for sharing your passion with us Brennen!

Office Team Building Event

by pathforward October 19, 2018
12:00 PM

Path Forward employees participated in a teambuilding day on Oct 12th at Pinot Palette in St. Mathews. We painted a painting inspired by Bob Ross called “Paint it like Ross”. You may ask what painting has to do with providing life support services. In a world where we’re more virtually connected than ever, it seems that our teams are more disconnected that ever. Path Forward has employees throughout the Louisville, Bluegrass, and Bowling Green areas. Path Forward makes it a priority to take time to invest in relationships and team building. Positive, high-performing teams are built through communication, shared experiences, positive interactions, and challenges.  At Path Forward we try to create a positive work environment that exhibits our core values in our day to day work which is called the PFK Way: compassion, education, honesty, integrity, respect, commitment and rock solid teamwork!

KAPP Conference and Distinguished DSP Winner

by pathforward October 16, 2018
11:34 AM

The Waiver Coordinators attended the KAPP conference on September 26-28th at the Marriot East. This was the 4th annual conference and this year’s theme was Mission Possible. The Waiver Coordinators attended several interesting breakout sessions regarding Guardianship, Medicaid Eligibility, Preventing Burnout, Stable Accounts, and Technology Enabled Supports. Path Forward of Kentucky is a proud member of KAPP, which stands for Kentucky Association of Private Providers. 

On the last day of the conference, KAPP host an Annual DSP Celebration Award Ceremony. It is everyone’s favorite event by far because you get to see and hear about the amazing work done throughout the state by DSP’s! Path Forward’s FHP Butch Bene was honored as 1 of 8 Distinguished DSP Award winners! Butch is an outstanding DSP, who consistently goes above and beyond by thinking outside of the box. It is an honor to have Butch Bene as part of our Path Forward family. He truly exhibits the PFK Way and we could not have been more proud to celebrate Butch at the Award Ceremony. 

Autism Friendly Business

by pathforward April 23, 2018
14:52 PM

The employees at Path Forward of Kentucky just completed a training through FEAT of Louisville to become an Autism friendly business. We wanted to be part of the movement to make Louisville more autism friendly. It is our hope that many more businesses in our area will sign up and complete this training to have a deeper understanding of Autism and how your business can best serve individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

For more information on this initiative visit their website https://featoflouisville.org/autism-friendly-community/business-initiative/


Consumer Spotlight: MORE THAN A CONQUERER

by pathforward April 5, 2018
10:20 AM

Lisa is a 48-year-old who has been married to her husband Craig for 25 years. Together, Lisa and Craig live with what Lisa dubs her “fur family,” which consists of two cats, Tippy and Juicie, and a dog, Sweetie.

While both Lisa and her husband are college-educated, employment opportunities for her have somewhat diminished over time after her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 2003. Lisa does not view her diagnosis as a roadblock so much as an alternate course in her life’s journey. Rooted in her faith, Lisa has sought for an opportunity to share with others, through education and advocacy, that even after being told one has a chronic illness there is still hope.

To that end, Lisa founded and currently facilitates a self-help group called “Myelin Matters,” with the goal of educating and spreading awareness of MS in her area. Part of Lisa’s responsibility is to line up sponsors and speakers for monthly educational programs. Her advocacy is extending as she will be serving as an MS ambassador in Frankfort and later in the spring in Washington, DC. Lisa enjoys public speaking and is grateful for opportunities to share with others as she has been called to speak in several areas of the MS community.

Several Mondays a month, you can find Lisa with a fellow church member at her local nursing home ministering in song to the residents. 

“Sure, it would be ideal to be paid for what I am passionate about, but God provides always, and in his time, not mine,” says Lisa.