Neida Garcia, a senior in our Pathways Carpinteria program, shared her deep connection to Pathways and Coastland, describing it as more than just an after-school program—”it’s a family away from family and a home away from home and I know that being here has prepared me up for college and everything else that I will go through in life.” Neida initially joined Pathways, seeking a job and a source of income. However, what made her stay was not just the money or the products she created but the strong bonds she formed with her fellow participants and guidance from the staff. Neida expressed gratitude for the personal growth she experienced in Pathways, which boosted her confidence in various aspects of her life beyond the program. “I grew incredibly close to everyone, and I appreciated what I was learning in the program.”
Neida’s dedication and hard work made her exceptional in the program. She thrived both in collaborative settings and when working independently. Pathways and Coastland became her “happy place,” and she enthusiastically recommends the program to younger students, highlighting the understanding and supportive nature of the staff, whom she regards as her second family. Neida’s appreciation for their guidance and the impact they had on her life is profound. “As a high school student, things can get rough and difficult, but the staff are so understanding, and they are always there to help. They are the support that everyone needs. I have only been part of Pathways for less than two years, but the staff has been a huge part of my life. Rachel and Katelyn have given me so much advice and they have helped me get through rough times in my life. [Pastor] G has also given such good academic advice that I will take with me into college. I could not have asked for a better staff. They are all the sweetest people I have ever met, and I am so glad I joined the program.”
Looking ahead, Neida is determined to pursue higher education. With aspirations of attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she plans to start at SBCC for her general education requirements before transferring to a four-year university. Neida acknowledges that Pathways has played a crucial role in preparing her for college, emphasizing the valuable skills she has acquired and what she has learned in the program.
As Neida’s time at Pathways Carpinteria draws to a close, we will be sad to see her go. She has been instrumental in helping create unique products during her tenure, particularly excelling in designing car diffusers, working with resin, and crafting beautiful flower arrangements and wreaths. Neida takes pride in knowing that her designs will endure even after she leaves, bringing her joy and leaving a lasting impact.
We cherish Neida’s presence in our program and are immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to support her personal growth, offer guidance, and contribute to her success. Her experience exemplifies the essence of Pathways—fostering a supportive community, providing pathways for growth, and empowering students to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and determination, setting them up for future success.
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