September 03, 2013 | Updated: January 29, 2019

By Ramonica Jones

Manuela Yvette Pena is a very shy girl when you meet her at first.  Once you get to know her, it’s like, 'wow'!  Yvette is such a wonderful girl. She is very friendly, loving and kind to her fellow peers.  She is always helpful to her teachers and peers and treats everyone with respect.  Yvette is a student from United South High School and is now attending the Cherish Center.  At the center, Yvette has shown great improvement in her self-esteem and communication skills.  She has taken the Culinary Arts class for the past two years and does so well that she is a manager in the dining hall or in the kitchen during special events at the center. Out in the community, Yvette has worked at Peter Piper’s Pizza, Cici’s Pizza, Mariachi Express (now Dos Marias), and this past spring, she was at Maria Bonita, a fancy sit-down restaurant. Yvette started waiting on tables and is now in the open kitchen making homemade tortillas.  Her employers were so pleased with her work performance that Yvette was offered employment there this summer.  She says she loves the restaurant business and wants to work at Maria Bonita after high school.  Yvette has been a Special Olympics athlete since she was in elementary school. Yvette gets excited when she knows she is going to compete.  She participates in the bowling events and in the track and field events. This spring, she participated in the 100 meter dash and the softball throw.  Yvette has shown interest in participating in a Unified sport such as golf.  She says she wants to try new things.  Yvette is always willing to learn and attempt new things, which is a good attitude to have in life. With an attitude like that, Yvette will get far and be successful in any challenge she undertakes. Yvette, you go girl!

Submitted by Lucy Gutierrez
Lead Teacher, Cherish Center

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