Over the course of her life Aimee Rios has earned more than a few labels and titles as most do, but before any of these, her story started in the small mining town of Globe, AZ. Daughter to Nick and Pauline Gardea and sister to Pete, Frederick, Edward, Gayle, Linda, and Nicky, she was brought into this world on March 1, 1967 as the seventh and final child to the large family of nine. At the age of 15, Aimee gave birth to a son, Nathaniel. At 18 shortly after graduating high school, she married Marty Rios, her high school sweetheart and love of her life. The young family started their lives together in a small trailer in Globe. In 1988, at the age of 21, Aimee gave birth to a daughter, Monique. In the years following this, Aimee worked as a daycare provider while caring for her two children.
The young family of four then moved to Gilbert, AZ in 1991. Upon arrival to the new house, Aimee promptly started her own babysitting service once again. As her children grew, she began working as an aide in the pre-school room of Towne Meadows Elementary in Gilbert, AZ. After years of hard work from her and her husband Marty, the Rios family was able to move into Aimee's dream house. Following her years of work as a pre-school aide, she began working in vision services for multiply handicapped students.
Upon her second child's departure to college, Aimee decided to start working part-time as a college student herself. She had been taking sporadic classes for years in pursuit of a teaching degree, and left with an empty nest, she decided there was no time like the present to fulfill her dream. Aimee is expected to celebrate her college graduation within the next few years. Her subsequent plans are ever-changing like every other college students', but there is no doubt that whatever she does she will continue to change lives and the world around her for the better. She is a light in the world that clearly shines to anyone she interacts with and is a true blessing to her family and friends.
Aimee is such a blessing in fact, that her daughter Monique felt compelled to write a piece on her for a Mother's Day contest. The prize-winning essay speaks volumes to the person Aimee is, and can be read below.
My mom, Aimee Rios, is unarguably the most incredible woman I have ever known. She gave birth to my brother when she was only 16, and upon graduating from high school her entire life was consumed by raising my brother and me. Her strength and determination inspires me every time I simply think of her. Now 41, she works with multiply handicapped students who are visually impaired and recently went back to school to become a certified teacher for these students. She is completely selfless in her acts, and I have never seen Jesus shine more purely through someone. Her patience is unreal and the size of her heart is unfathomable. Just to observe the work she does with these kids is awe-inspiring. Children who haven't laughed or smiled in years light up when she walks in the room. She has such a presence that her energy breaks the barrier of sight. The visually impaired students she works with don't need to see her to know she is there. I have never seen energy and passion for life such as hers in anyone else I have ever come into contact with. She is my mommy, and I could never adequately describe her in words because she is so much more than words could ever capture.