Attorney Shelley Rizzotti Volunteers with "Junior Achievement," Using Her Life Experiences to Teach Students Perseverance

Shelley Rios enjoys volunteering with Junior Achievement by teaching a module of the Junior Achievement curriculum called "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" (based on the book by Sean Covey) at Burbank High School.

During her time with the students (mostly juniors), she openly shares personal life struggles, including the incarceration of her father and the death of her younger brother in a motorcycle accident.

Shelley freely shares these personal stories among others to teach students that there is nothing that they can't achieve, no matter where they come from and no matter what hand life has dealt them – just set your mind to it and stay focused. She tells them that there is no embarrassment in embracing your past, as it makes you who you are and can catapult you to where you are going.

Shelley is proud of all of her students, but especially Valente Montes. Valente is a first generation Mexican American who was raised in a difficult environment. Valente credits Shelley and her husband, Christopher, with igniting a spark within him at just the right time in his life when he could have chosen a different path.

Valente's Story

During the summer between his junior and senior year in high school, Valente applied to and was accepted into a prestigious Summer Business program at UCLA. Just getting back and forth to the program from Burbank was difficult – Valente didn't have a car and didn't have anyone else who could help him get there. That didn't dissuade him. He figured out the public transportation system and started his day hours and hours earlier than the other students just to arrive on campus.

Part of the program involved a fundraising competition. Valente didn't know where to begin – he didn't have an affluent family nor any contact with people who could help him. Valente reached out to the Rizzottis for guidance. Through multiple meetings, they mentored Valente on being himself and embracing his struggles – using his story to enlist people to be part of his team.

Even with hours added to his commute because of having to take public transportation, Valente organized his days and late evenings to meet with people. Ultimately, Valente not only raised $4,145 (the second highest amount raised of over 200 students), but he did it through in-person meetings with people who were able to see his core character and, in seeing his character, wanted to help him.

After graduating from high school, Valente found himself in Canyon Country, CA after the apartment where he was living in Burbank was sold. There, he enrolled as a political science major at College of the Canyons. Valente maintains a 3.5 GPA in his studies while working at a restaurant at night to pay his way. He also applied for and was offered an internship at his Congressman's local office, as well as his Washington, D.C. office.

A seven-hour commitment over the course of three months changed one student's life. Shelley is exceedingly proud to have been a part of it.

Shelley loves motivational teaching to high school students and regularly shares the expressions: "Never, ever, ever give up," "Winners do what losers won't," and "You can't get to a different place by walking down the same path."

Contact Shelley Rios, Attorney at Law today for any of your probate or real estate legal needs.

Categories: News