At a time when most children are forming friendships and building an identity, Marisa Rosales spent nights crying herself to sleep. You see, at the age of 7 she was sent to San Diego to be raised by an unaffectionate aunt. Countless nights were spent pondering the questions of life. She wondered why her parents let her go, wondered if she had done anything wrong, and questioned not only her fate but her future.
But this was just the beginning of a tumultuous life.
Marisa’s life comes off like a great screenplay. In what could best be described as bittersweet she endured plenty of pain, but she powered through it all. In high school she was homeless for nearly a year and during that time she found solace in an automotive class where she made a connection with cars. Day after day she would channel her frustration into each and every project and as her skillset grew so did her admiration for classic cars.
Each day on the way to school, Marisa passed a junkyard filled with Hudsons. Day after day it became a visual impression she would never forget and soon thereafter she and her boyfriend picked up a 1949 Hudson. But as the pieces of her life seemed to be coming together, it wasn’t long after the couple started working on the Hudson that he tragically died. But if you think for one minute that life got any better, think again. The trials and tribulations of life were about to fall on her young shoulders and there’s a reason why she named her car after the likes of the infamous movie car “Christine.”
Little did Marisa know that what she was going through was an informal education that would make her excel at her job. Now a senior protective services social worker, Marisa has spent the past 17 years helping children. She understands all too well what some of these children are going through and it’s her ability to connect with these children that gives her the upper hand. She’s familiar with the mindset, she’s aware of the telltale signs, and she’s dedicated to making the world a better place for them to live.
But being surrounded by the daily struggle is a harrowing effort-especially when it comes to child abuse. To see a child in distress is an emotional drain, and with only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week to give your best it’s hard for life not to take your best. So to help balance life and recollect her thoughts and energy, Marisa finds solace flying the Dukes Car Club plaque and taking her candy red long and low 1949 Hudson out for a cruise. Her car is more than just a form of therapy, it’s a vehicle of expression that has plenty of stories to share.
So as we continue with Season 3 of Roll Models, sponsored by Quaker State, be sure to check out her segment because Marisa’s got a story to share. She’s a reminder that bad times don’t last and that behind every obstacle is an incredible destination that can only be reached by resilience, focus, and the determination.