About Us

The History of Julian Pathways, Inc.

Our story begins in 1998, when the Julian Union School District was awarded two Healthy Cities and Communities grants. These two grants, one for planning and one for implementation, were used to assess the community needs and develop resources focused on addressing those needs. From the start, our organization has included school staff, parents and community partners concerned with the well-being of our rural community. As a result of the initial discussions and surveys of over 500 Julian residents, priorities focused on early and primary intervention strategies for youth, expanding health care access, and enhancing the concept of community health. Group efforts focused on developing resources for student support, developing programs to promote healthy choices and exploring options for student transportation.

In 1999, this mighty group was awarded a planning grant to conduct more assessments of community needs (this time over 1,000 residents were surveyed). The following three goals were identified: safe after school activities and programs, access to health care and social services, and an enhanced school community environment.

Julian Healthy Start, as the group became known, received its third major funding opportunity, the California Healthy Start grant in 2000. These funds allowed an expansion that included mental health services for students and families, as well as a nutrition program for the district's students and seniors in the community. An expansion of the original group formed the Julian Backcountry Collaborative. The idea behind this was to bring a broader variety of individuals and organizations together with the goal of promoting the well-being of the Julian community. Around the same time, a small medical clinic was opened to provide medical access to residents.

In 2001, we officially became Julian Pathways. We continued to strategize and service the community based on our in-depth knowledge of the needs. Partnering with healthcare providers and service agencies was a natural part of our growth. In 2002, we established ourselves as a partner site in the UCSD Community Pediatrics rotation schedule. Through this partnership, our school district and families continue to benefit from having a pediatric resident on campus to provide health related lessons. The pediatricians benefit from learning about health concerns in rural communities and get to see a community school in action.

We were able to address the afterschool need at the Jr, High level in 2003 when we were awarded the After-School Education and Safety (ASES) grant. This afterschool program, Club Timberwolf, continues to provide a safe and enriching place for 6th-8th grade students. In 2014, we were able to open the Club Jaguar before and after-school program at the elementary school. The Club Jaguar program was and continues to be funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. A great advantage to these enrichment programs is the fact that they are a free service to our families! We’re pleased that these two programs continue to thrive and constantly keep up to date with the expanding learning needs of our students.

Over the years, we have received a variety of grants to support programs that benefit the school district and the Julian community. From drug-free prevention programs to school gardening and social-emotional learning. Our staff grew to include a Behavior Support Specialist, a Resource Specialist, a Garden Educator and a Character Education Coordinator to meet the programming requirements of these new grants. We continue to employ and promote programs run by outstanding coordinators and highly motivated leaders.

In 2016, Julian Pathways became an incorporated nonprofit organization to allow for additional grant and donation opportunities. The goal of our organization is to ensure that each child receives the physical, emotional, and intellectual support he or she needs -in school, at home, or in the community- to learn well.

With funding fluctuating year to year, programs have come and gone, however, our passion to help our school community has never wavered. Julian Pathways, Inc. has received a number of accolades and awards that include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrative (SAMHSA) Award, Golden Bell award, Early Mental Health Initiative PIP awards and multiple proclamations from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. We’ve even received congressional recognition!

Even when faced with difficult situations, we are there to serve our families. In 2003, our community was devastated by the Cedar Fire. 104 students and families lost their homes, and we were able to provide support and resources. Most recently, due to the COVID-19 health crisis and the school closures, we quickly adjusted our focus to include more of the Julian community in our services. With food insecurity at its highest and so many in the community in need, it became apparent that the organization once again, needed to rise to the challenge of providing support. Already armed with connections to organizations such as Feeding San Diego and the San Diego Food Bank, we stepped in to provide regular food distributions to three different locations in the rural backcountry. Now that students are back to in-person learning, we’re ready to roll out the next wave of services.

Our vision has always included sustainability and a lasting legacy of positive impact.

Please visit our Julian Backcountry Collaborative page to learn more about how to partner with Julian Pathways and help us continue our mission.


Brian Duffy, Dana Pettersen, Donna Colbert, Valerie Thompson, Wade Wylie

Established in 2000

Since receiving a California Healthy Start grant in September of 2000, Pathways and partners have provided a myriad of programs for students and families.

2021/2022 Funding from:

21st Century Community Learning Center

After School Safety and Education

Medi-Cal Administrative Activities

Las Patronas


Christensen Foundation

Community & Individual Donors


Carmen Longoria

Executive Director


Crystal DeSoto

Administrative & Grants Manager


Manja Rocco

Director of Expanded Learning Enrichment Programs


Krystin Hunter

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist / Resource Coordinator


Virginia McNall

Student Services Support / Resource Coordinator


Tricia Elisara

Garden Coordinator


Mati Moon

FoodCorps Service Member


Nancy Younce

Pathways Associate


After-School Program Leaders

Linda Flint, Victoria Thompson, Katherine Thompson, Michael Jones, Theresa Ludwick, Bella Desouza & Alec Helm

Looking for our office? We're located on the Julian Elementary School campus (past the playground).