Sweet life lesson forged in Selma kitchen

SELMA, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a cookie factory inside Auntie Mo's kitchen.

"I tease her. I call her Cinderella sometimes because she is my little sous-chef and she's washing dishes and running around cleaning," said Marianne Rodriguez of Auntie Mo's Homemade Cookies.

Rodriguez sells personalized cookies and holds cookie classes. She's formed a special relationship with helper Amanda Olvera.

"I've learned how to bake. Baking is actually very fun. I've learned about the decorating. Decorating is a little bit like art. To me, art is my hobby and passion," said Amanda Olvera, student.

Amanda is one of 200 enrolled in the Proteus youth program that serves Fresno, Tulare and Kings county areas.

Blanca Lopez helps oversee the program for low income people ages 16-24 and gives them career training.

"I was one of the students that was in the program myself back in high school. All I did was field work with my parents and then the Proteus program placed me to work in an office. I was like I want to work in an office," Lopez said.

Proteus matches students with potential employers across the Valley. It pays minimum wage, uniform and other costs, but the knowledge they take away is priceless.

"There's education and college after high school. Just to guide them and tell them there's more things out there," Lopez said.

For Auntie Mo and Amanda, the program has been a win-win for both women.

"The benefit is a getting to know her. She's a wonderful person and just trying to remind her of the gifts that she has and that she can utilize them," Rodriguez

Gifts she's learning about, while enjoying tasty treats.

"They're really good. I can't help but eat more. Laughs," said Rodriguez said.

Cookies that are now even sweeter with life lessons forged in the kitchen.
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