Friendly and accepting of new challenges, Evelyn is always happy to help out and get involved. Eager to discover her inner strength, she leads by example and motivates everyone around her.
All About Me
My name is Evelyn Manriquez. I am 18 years old, was born in San Bernardino, California and am the youngest of 4 siblings. When I was three, my family moved to Mesquite, Texas. My mother worked with my dad as a dispatcher while he worked as a truck driver. On October 3, 2014, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. Nearly one year after, on October 1, 2015, my dad passed away. I was 13 at the time. After my dad’s passing, my family and I moved back to California to live with my grandparents. This was a major change for my family. My mother had now become the primary breadwinner of the family. She began working as a bus driver. She would typically leave to work at 4 am and come back home as late at 8 or 9 pm. Because of these circumstances, my older sister was obligated to become the parental figure for my siblings and me.
In 2017, when I was in the 8th grade, one of my brothers had suicidal intentions and was hospitalized for a few months. During the time, I also struggled with my own mental health issues. I had trouble sleeping due to overwhelming feelings of anger and depression. I felt that my feelings of depression and the desire for therapy were signs of weakness, which is a common view in many Latino families. Luckily, my sister encouraged me to seek therapy. Since my godmother is a licensed therapist, she was able to help me navigate the complicated insurance system. The therapist made me realize that my mental health was a priority and that routine is crucial. In addition to the therapy, I also found that caring for a dog was instrumental to my mental health.
In 2020, my friend Torie Colocho recommended I apply to work at In the Making (ITM). I joined the ITM family in the beginning of 2021. In the short time I have been with the organization, I feel like I have created a strong bond with other staff members and my mentors, Paulette and Maribel. These important people have reminded me that my mental health is indeed a priority.
Working at ITM has helped me and many other youth bring out and nurture skills that we didn’t even know we had. For example, I am very detail oriented. I often enjoy asking lots of questions to truly know and understanding something. At home, this skill is sometimes mocked, but here at ITM, it is skill that has been praised and has led to leadership roles. Additionally, I have been able to showcase my skills of taking initiative, being tech-savvy and being a quick learner. All these skills have been encouraged and appreciated at ITM.
Part of the ITM curriculum is to read the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. One of the ‘‘agreements’’ that particularly resonated with me is to ‘‘not take things personally’’. This book has also helped bring me the realization that everything happens for a reason. I have career aspirations to become a registered nurse and but I also have interest in the field of real estate. I believe in always having a backup plan and a side hustle in case things don’t go according to plan.
ITM is a safe space that supports youth in so many ways. For myself, not only did I get a job opportunity, but I gained the ability to showcase the skills I did not know I had. By having a sponsor, I would be able to continue this amazing internship and see what new things are in store for me.