Initially convinced by her mother to join Pathways, Julianna Ornelas joined for the opportunity to earn money, but stayed in the program to learn and for the friendships she formed. Julianna Ornelas is a determined “go-getter” with ambitious dreams of becoming a business owner one day. Her interest in entrepreneurship was planted and cultivated through Pathways, where she was one of the first students to join the program. “Oh my gosh, the whole entrepreneurship aspect is amazing! We’re learning while we’re doing everything, which is unique. And because of the store aspect, we learn what fails and what works, and we learn how to find alternatives, which is really important to learn, especially going into the business world. I want to go into business now because of this program.” Julianna plans to pursue a business major at Cal Poly SLO after completing her general education requirements at SBCC. Her dream is to open a boba shop, and she eagerly sought advice from Dave and Katelyn on how to make her aspirations a reality.
During her time in the program, Julianna also improved her communication skills and time management through Pathways. She learned the importance of effectively communicating her schedule and prioritizing her commitments. “I have learned a lot about time management because of this program. I learned I have to communicate with the staff about when I have to miss. Before, in school, I would never tell my teachers when I would need to make up assignments or when I would be absent and I wouldn’t communicate with them, but now I do and I’ve learned it from being in Pathways.”
Julianna expresses immense gratitude for her time in Pathways and wholeheartedly recommends the program to younger students. She emphasizes the valuable lessons in working toward goals, taking responsibility, and planning. The program instilled a strong sense of responsibility in students, teaching them the importance of commitment and hard work. “Pathways teaches students how to work towards a goal. For example, in order to make money you have to show up every day, you have to put in the work, and you have to move around your schedule and plan ahead in order to be able to attend program. It’s amazing that there are people in high school saying, ‘No, I can’t do that today because I have to go to Pathways,’ during their freshman year! That’s crazy! If you join this program you will learn a lot of responsibility.”
Julianna’s achievements in the program brought her great pride in what she has learned, from creating cork trivets to making candles. “For example, when I did the cork trivets for the first time, I had never done anything like that before, but I was so proud to learn something new. Also, I now make candles at home for fun just because I enjoyed making them during program and I remembered the recipe. I feel like every little thing I have made is an achievement for me because I’m learning from it. Outside of Pathways, I probably never would’ve done any of this stuff.” The experience motivated her to consider starting her own candle-making business on the side.
Julianna also acknowledges the vital role played by the program staff, who provided support with school, introduced her to new connections and served as a reliable source of guidance. Their unwavering support has made them a trusted and cherished resource in her life. “We always joke around that if we ever go to jail we’re gonna call you guys. You’ve become that support system for us.”
As Julianna gets ready to leave Pathways, we will miss her intuitive and curious spirit, but we are excited to witness her future endeavors. Perhaps she will return to Carpinteria to fulfill her dream of opening a boba shop.
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