December 7, 2016
Omar Coronel was a young husband, father, and stake president of the Guayaquil Ecuador Las Orquideas Stake when he lost his job. Stuck doing odd jobs while looking for stable work, Omar knew that lack of education combined with low wages were creating a cycle that trapped many people in his country.
He shared this observation: “The economy is really bad. We, the public, are having hard days. Many people are getting fired and can’t find a job. Many people are having a hard time finishing school, and a lot of people are not able to attend universities. They are very expensive too, so not many people can study in many of the universities here.”
When he heard about PathwayConnect, Omar decided it was his only option for overcoming this education gap.
“I am studying in BYU-Pathway because I know that additional education certainly is going to help me find a job and present my services to companies. I need to provide for my family, and I want to do all I can to make them feel proud and to give them all they need to succeed in school and at home.”
As Omar succeeded in PathwayConnect, he felt renewed dedication to improving his situation in addition to the skills he was learning.
“Now I understand better why and how to set appropriate goals. I have a new sense of achievement and joy to feel how this small knowledge I have obtained so far illuminates my mind and soul. I really want to learn more not just to have a degree, but to use that knowledge in the working field. Now I have a better idea about the business I want to establish, and I find that I will do very good with what I am going to learn here.”
Now Omar looks to the future with hope, confident in his ability to use his new skills to pursue better opportunities.
He hopes that others can use PathwayConnect to overcome their own educational obstacles: “I call every member in the Church that is struggling with finding an affordable and good education, and I tell them: Come to PathwayConnect! You will not find another place to study such good classes. And it’s affordable for everyone since the tuition is so easy to cover. I know that opportunities will come. I am so grateful for what PathwayConnect has done in my heart, mind, and soul.”
Omar’s wife is now studying in PathwayConnect, and Omar helps his two sons understand the importance of studying and setting educational goals. He hopes to pass on the value of PathwayConnect to the next generation.
How did PathwayConnect help you overcome obstacles to education or career advancement?
The students featured in this four-part series represent the educational opportunities that PathwayConnect brings to people around the world. The program’s unique infrastructure, combined with low costs and a flexible schedule, allows students to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to obtain higher education.
Through this education, Hong learned a new language, Griseld started his own business, Mike discovered his intellectual talents, and Omar found higher education in a country experiencing economic challenges. PathwayConnect means that thousands of other students around the world have similar opportunities — it means real improvement for those who hope for a better life.
PathwayConnect continues to spread educational opportunities around the world as it expands. Students’ extraordinary growth is made possible by the extensive network of Church resources and leadership already in most countries. This allows PathwayConnect to assist individuals in overcoming personal struggles with education or employment.