Milton resident mentors youth while on the Pathways to Success board

Bill Collick of Milton was recently honored with a Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award, but he isn’t much on talking about himself.

“Fayetta Blake, she’s the glue, make no mistake about it,” he said.

Blake is the founder of nonprofit Pathways to Success. Collick is president of the board of directors. Pathways mentors underserved youth, and when she was looking for a school to get started in, a friend told her to contact Collick at Sussex Technical High School.

“We met, and you know what, we have kind of been joined at the hip since,” Blake said. “He totally bought in and helped us get up and running. That was 14 years ago, and it has been a wonderful partnership.”

Collick is 67. He’s pretty much always lived in the Cape district, except college. He started out at Wesley and finished his bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Delaware. Later, he got his master’s in education leadership from Wilmington College.

Collick’s first job in education was teaching at Rehoboth Beach Elementary School, but he began building his legacy at Delaware State University. He coached football there for 20 years and he rose to athletic director. Collick then turned his attention to Sussex County high schools, first coaching football and working in administration at Sussex Tech, then Cape Henlopen.

He built a reputation as hands-on leader. Collick not only is on the Pathways board; he mentors students at Cape Henlopen several times a week.

“What I would say about Bill’s leadership is that he is very inclusive. He has a very participative leadership style. There’s no idea that gets brought to the table that he dismisses,” Blake said. “Oftentimes, no one idea is the right one, so he has the ability to pick through and put them together to makes something really solid. That takes a really patient leader.”

About Pathways to Success

Pathways to Success serves about 300 students in grades 9-12 at Sussex Tech, Cape Henlopen, Milford and Seaford High Schools. An expansion to Indian River is on the way.

“It’s basically for kids who need help getting on and staying on the right track, taking care of themselves, getting a higher education or learning some type of skill,” Collick said.

Students can apply to Pathways, but most of the time, they’re referred by school staff. They meet after school, sometimes before, for tutoring and mentoring.

“I think we do better when we have structure,” Collick said. “And so many people in this area have tremendous backgrounds and the ability to help kids, and there are some kids that are benefitting greatly from it.”

Pathways participants can get assistance on schoolwork and filling out college applications, financial aid and scholarship forms or a job application. They’re given a chance to express themselves to adults with their best interest at heart.

“I had a young man, he wasn’t doing very well with how he was conducting himself. I started with him in September and he wasn’t making much progress through December,” Collick said. “Then he started dressing better, conducting himself better, and I asked him what was different. He said he knew that I knew he wasn’t listening to me initially, but I kept coming back. Just showing somebody that you care can make a change.”

Learn more about Pathways to Success at pathways-2-success.org.