07/03/2024 |

A photo of Valerie Cook

8 years ago, Manuela Aviles hit a speed bump in her career. Going through the Jobs Now program, she was provided with 3 employers to talk to in pursuit of furthering herself vocationally. She selected Success Centers as one of the 2 that she would reach out to for an interview. Her first interview was conducted on site at 375 Woodside. She was invited back for a second interview that occurred during a severe rainstorm. While waiting in the lobby, she witnessed the classroom ceiling collapse right in front of her. Luckily it was very early in the day and the room had no occupants. Manuela sprang into action and started to help clean up without being asked to assist. After the debris was removed, the interviewer told her “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

That front desk position was a six-month internship, during which she learned all about Success Centers. She assisted clients, answered calls, scheduled meetings and conference calls and continued to demonstrate her value to the organization. Within 3 months of the six-month assignment, she was hired as an Employment Training Specialist. Manuela continued to advance her career working in the Success Centers Construction Program with young adults recently discharged from detention. Some of her responsibilities involved providing students with career advice. Those skills were recognized when she was promoted to a Career Advisor in 2019. That same year, Success Centers relocated to the Webster Street office in the Western Addition, where Manuela works to this day. Manuela experience, expertise and strong work ethic have given her opportunities to be promoted to Sr. Career Advisor (2020) and recently to Program Manager (2024).

Witnessing injustice and experiencing prejudice directed her interest to criminal justice. “Seeing people who look and sound like me being persecuted for doing very minimal infractions made me want to be a guiding advocate for my community. I wanted to be a probation officer to help those in the community who needed a champion on their side. I enjoy being in community service and giving back opportunities that were provided to me.”

In her spare time, she looks for family focused fun events for her husband and 3 children (13, 6 and 2) to share together. She finds great satisfaction in her work environment where she is respected, challenged and recognized for her contributions and continues to work hard to ensure that clients and staff know that she’s a confident professional who’s there to listen and help.

On behalf of the staff at Success Centers, please join us with congratulating Manuela on this recognition!