Carmen Garnica, an original Pathways program member since the fall of 2019, stood out for her exceptional work ethic and attention to detail. Her unwavering dedication made her a standout student and a silent leader who led by example. Carmen’s mantra is productivity; she thrives on working hard and actively dislikes idle moments. This rare quality, particularly in her generation, sets Carmen apart as a true rarity. Now a recent graduate, Carmen has taken on a leadership role in our new middle school program, a testament to her growth and development at Pathways.
In her first year at Carpinteria High School, Carmen’s friend introduced her to Pathways and with her mother’s encouragement, she joined and found that she loved the welcoming environment and the joy of learning to work and make products. For Carmen, Pathways became a true home away from home. She would arrive early, spending time with the staff before the program started. Carmen’s thoughtful nature shone through with gestures like bringing tamales from home, gifts from Mexico, and donating a beautiful plant when we opened the new Coastland location. Her connection with the staff extended beyond the program, as they provided academic support and life advice and formed meaningful relationships. “The Pathways staff helped me in here [the program], but also outside like, when Katelyn helped tutor me when I needed homework help and Rachel has given us life advice and Dave too. It’s like a family type of relationship that we all build, even with the other people who are here.” A common thread among our students is that they join for the opportunity to earn money but stay for the relationships and the valuable learning experience.
Pathways and Coastland became a nurturing space for Carmen, where she received support, care, and encouragement while learning and growing significantly. She gained valuable insights into the business of Coastland, such as calculating profit margins, problem solving and understanding the effort required to run a business—a knowledge she would not have acquired otherwise. One of Carmen’s standout moments was conceptualizing “Soap on the Go,” an idea she had while making lotion bars. This innovative product, offering portable soap for camping, gym, and travel, quickly became popular in our store. Carmen also developed excellent time management skills through our program, a crucial asset for her dream of becoming a nurse. She plans to pursue Nursing School and recognizes that Pathways has prepared her for patient care demands and effective communication. Carmen acknowledges that her growth at Pathways extends beyond business skills; it has equipped her with the knowledge and connections necessary to navigate life confidently.
Carmen Garnica’s journey in Pathways has been marked by her passion for productivity and her growing life skill set. Her experiences have shaped her into a remarkable individual, ready to embark on a successful future. Carmen has gained valuable business insights, honed time management skills, and developed crucial interpersonal abilities throughout her time with us. Her dream of becoming a nurse is bolstered by the knowledge and preparation she received in Pathways. Carmen’s journey is a testament to our program’s profound impact on students’ lives, empowering them with knowledge, connections, and the confidence to thrive in the real world. “If I hadn’t been a part of Pathways, I wouldn’t have connected with as many people and I wouldn’t have as much knowledge as I do now. It’s given me knowledge to prepare for life and to know what to expect.”
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