Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State for its beautiful coastline of islands, bays, coves, and beaches. The family of Vanessa Recinos (11) sometimes heads for one of those sandy beaches to go swimming. But while Vanessa admires the view, she refuses to wade in above her ankles. She knows that somewhere out there beneath the sunny waves, sharks are lurking. She prefers to do her swimming in her much smaller backyard pool, which is guaranteed to be shark-free.
Vanessa’s family is her greatest joy. Vanessa has two loving parents; three sisters, Marilyn (12), Katrina (15), Marissa (18); and a brother, Lester (22). Her parents are from Guatemala. They met at church, and the Church remains the center of family life. They share family home evening, scripture reading, church attendance, and family prayers. They try to live together in love as the Savior taught. Eager to spread the joy she finds at home, Vanessa often teaches cousins and friends about the gospel.
Art: Drawing, singing, and dancing. She is studying the violin too.
Food: Caldo de res (a rich beef broth) and macaroni and cheese
Primary Song: “Families Can Be Together Forever”
School Subjects: Gym, art, and math
The Recinos family has fun by just being together. They laugh. They talk. They sing. They joke. They also like to go bowling, watch movies, play basketball and soccer, eat out, and, of course, swim together. Mom works at night in a nursing home, so she often goes to sleep during the movies, but no one minds because the family is together.
play for the Women’s National Basketball Association
be a professional artist and writer
“People used to tease me because I was short and was failing English, but I raised my grade. When children teased me, I just prayed for help and tried to ignore them. They don’t tease me a lot anymore.”
“Try your best. Follow instructions. Don’t forget what God’s plan is.”
Everyone in the family agrees that Vanessa is a kind, happy person. She loves to laugh and is almost always smiling. What makes her so happy? “My life,” she says.
Her mom says: “The members at church love her. She has won their hearts because she is so sweet and loving. She likes to help others, especially the younger children in Primary.”
She also likes to visit elderly people at the nursing home where Sister Recinos works. “Some people don’t like visiting nursing homes,” Vanessa says, “but I don’t mind because the people there are Heavenly Father’s children, and I really like people. I pray for them because some of them need Heavenly Father’s help really bad.”
Vanessa’s dad says: “I’m very pleased with her. She’s doing great in school and in church. She’s our little girl, but she’s growing up. I’m so happy to have a daughter like her.”