Staff Focus: Sophia Mullens - Wellness Coordinator

Sophia Mullens, Wellness Coordinator at Urban Pathways’ Ivan Shaprio House.

Sophia Mullens, Wellness Coordinator at Urban Pathways’ Ivan Shaprio House.

Urban Pathways’ Communications Staff recently sat down with one of the amazing employees from one our supportive housing residences. Sophia Mullens has worked for Urban Pathways for two and a half years, beginning as a Case Manager and now as Wellness Coordinator.

Sophia grew up on Long Island and in college majored in psychology and childhood adolescent mental health, Sophia also has a master’s degree in Psychology. Read below on why Sophia chose psychology, how she engages Urban Pathways’ clients in wellness and self-management and how rewarding it is to see someone become stable and self-sufficient.

Why did you choose a psychology as a major?

I chose psychology because I was always interested in how the brain works. In college, I saw firsthand Art Therapy in action and how it reengaged participants with their community.

Who resides at Ivan Shapiro House?

Ivan Shapiro was built in 1997 and is the oldest building Urban Pathways owns. It is home to 55 men and women, all of whom have been chronically homeless and have a history of mental illness.

Sophia, working with a client at Ivan Shapiro

Sophia, working with a client at Ivan Shapiro

What are some of your responsibilities at Urban Pathways?

Some of my main responsibilities are running the wellness groups, coordinating housing interviews and putting together housing packages for clients who are ready to move out, making sure the clients get their annual physicals, filling vacancies, and coordinating events and programs.


How do you help clients with wellness and self-management?

I assist clients in their wellness and self-management by having an open-door policy, I want clients to feel comfortable coming to me when they have a problem and working with me on specific goals to achieve stability in their wellness and taking an active role in their health care.

Wellness Self-Management Group Participants receive their certificates of completion.

Wellness Self-Management Group Participants receive their certificates of completion.

How often do you meet with clients?

I meet with clients as a group on a daily basis or a couple of times a week depending on the group. Also, I meet clients one on one in my office throughout the day.


Can you describe your group meetings?

Some of the topics covered in group meetings are: managing personal budgets, apartment cleanliness, healthy eating and other basic needs. Programs typically run 60 – 90 minutes and client events can last a couple of hours.

Outside organizations come in and present to our groups on topics related to wellness and self-management. Clients graduate from wellness groups and later come back to give inspirational speeches to newer groups. Also, we have dedicated volunteers from our Associate Board and organizations like The Legal Aid Society that hold monthly events for the residents.


How do these programs benefit clients?

These programs help clients by providing educational opportunities and reinforcing positive interpersonal skills. This renews a sense of self-esteem in clients and helps them realize their potential.


How does staff collaborate to assist clients in their wellness?

Staff facilitate communication between each other and the client, with the hope of all parties being on the same page regarding reaching goals in a client’s wellness and self-management.

At Ivan Shapiro, we are lucky to have a full-time nurse, an employment specialist, and a consulting psychiatrist in addition to the case managers, operations staff and myself. This multidisciplinary team provides a well-rounded approach where everyone working in tandem based on the client’s needs, and the client is receiving the staff’s full support.

How does it make you feel helping clients in their wellness and recovery?

Personally, it makes me feel great to see people improving their health and wellness. It’s all about the client and how determined they are in recovering. We the staff, give the clients the tools, they are the ones that make the change. Helping clients also gives me a structure to my life as well, so it comes full circle because they are helping me too.


What’s new at Ivan Shapiro House in 2019?

New this year we are hosting a Social Justice Inequality group that was created to get clients more involved and aware of social justice issues. Also, we have a blanket drive coming up for our clients.

Sophia with clients at the Homeless Memorial Service last year.

Sophia with clients at the Homeless Memorial Service last year.

Describe a need that you have at Ivan Shapiro?

Here at Ivan Shapiro House we need funds for activities for our clients. We would love to give clients the opportunity to attend events in the community. Encouraging clients to be active members of the community is an important goal of our housing programs at Urban Pathways.

About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the Metropolitan area. Urban Pathways serves more than 3,700 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. 
www.urbanpathways.orgDonate 

Art Donations from Ellie Faidley

Ellie Faidley

Ellie Faidley

This past summer Urban Pathways was approached by an eight year old named Ellie Faidley.

Ellie wanted to help those less fortunate over her summer break.

Ellie, being an avid drawer and lover of art, chose to start an art supply fundraiser for clients of Urban Pathways. “I believe everyone should have access to art supplies, it allows you to be creative with your brain and hands.

Ellie found Urban Pathways after researching organizations that provide art programs for at-risk and formerly homeless men and women. Ellie created a GoFundMe page that raised $1,000 in a month and was highlighted by GoFundMe as a top monthly donation page.

Art is creative and relaxing. It helps you think and explore. I hope the residents enjoy the supplies and make great art for their apartments.” -Ellie

The donated art supplies were sent to our supportive housing residences at 162nd Street in the Bronx and Ivan Shapiro House in New York City. Both sites have art programs that have seen increased client participation due to the donations.

About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the Metropolitan area. Urban Pathways serves more than 3,700 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. www.urbanpathways.org. Donate

Keith Berger awarded BAML’s Global Volunteer Award!

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Congratulations to President Emeritus and current Board Member Keith Berger for being awarded a Global Volunteer Award by Bank of America Merrill Lynch for his tireless work volunteering with Urban Pathways.

Keith has been with Bank of America Merrill Lynch since 2015 as a Director in Global Business Controls within the Global Banking and Markets division. Keith has been involved with Urban Pathways since 2003 when he joined the Associate Board. He has been a Board Member since 2007, and served as Board President from 2013-2018.

Keith has been instrumental in setting strategic goals resulting in the expansion of Urban Pathways’ Board of Directors, programs and services; increased fundraising; and the hiring staff which all have contributed to hundreds of new supportive housing units being built.

Keith enjoys engaging with clients, hearing their challenges and successes and believes that housing is a basic human need that everyone deserves.

Keith is pictured with Bank of America Merrill Lynch CEO Brian T. Moynihan

Keith is pictured with Bank of America Merrill Lynch CEO Brian T. Moynihan

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Volunteer Awards are the company’s most prestigious recognition of volunteerism, awarded to employees who exemplify Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s collective commitment to making a positive impact in communities through service. Through their talents, expertise and passion for giving back, recipients help to deliver the full power of the Bank in communities across the globe.

The awards are highly competitive ― with more than 2,800 nominations, 64 employee volunteers were recognized for their exemplary volunteerism this year.

Congratulations to Keith for this very well deserved award!

About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the Metropolitan area. Urban Pathways serves more than 3,700 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. www.urbanpathways.org. Donate

Adaptly Art Event & Breakfast

Adaptly’s Volunteer Team

Adaptly’s Volunteer Team

Earlier this month, volunteers from Adaptly visited Urban Pathways’ Cluster House Residence and hosted an art and breakfast event for residents.

The clients and staff at Cluster House enjoyed engaging with Adaptly’s volunteer team during the morning event.

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Adaptly provided clients with painting supplies and their volunteers provided encouragement. The art project was simple and fun – the clients enjoyed painting their pots and loved that they received a plant for their apartment.

Clients were excited about having a creative event where they connected and interacted with Adaptly’s volunteer team.

Adaptly will also be giving out individual gifts for residents of Cluster House this month!

We thank Adaptly for all their support and generosity this holiday season.
Adaptly, thank you for all that you do to support our clients and our work!

About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the Metropolitan area. Urban Pathways serves more than 3,700 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. 
www.urbanpathways.orgDonate