Mia Manipud

Old Southwest Reno, 89509

Story by Gloria Davis

Mia Manipud’s fondest childhood memories are the weekday mornings she spent on Sharon Way in Reno, Nev., with her grandparents.

“We would wake up really early to go jogging around the neighborhood,” says Mia about her morning workouts with her grandfather, Pol Salvanera. The two would run to the 7-Eleven down the street. “It was really exciting to go there and buy a Slurpee.”

When the two returned, Mia’s grandmother, Mila Salvanera, would have a traditional Filipino breakfast waiting for them.

Mia would spend the rest of the day lounging with her grandpa watching television. Pol and Mila did not speak English, but the three enjoyed watching English shows like The Price Is Right, Jerry Springer and traditional Filipino soap operas throughout the afternoons.

Mia’s other favorite part of her days as a child was watching her grandfather garden. “He would make sure everything was very organized and aligned with the type of vegetable or fruit.”

Mia smiles as she reminisces. “I miss that kind of structure.”

Pol and Mila lived with Mia and her parents, Marissa and Dom Manipud, in Old South Reno. Marissa was a hostess at the Sundowner Casino, Dom a slot machine technician.

“My parents are huge gamblers,” says Mia. Mia grew up around casinos and would often go with her parents. “On some days I would just go to the casinos with them and they would gamble and I would just hang out,” says Mia.

Mia especially enjoyed time with here grandparents because it was an escape from the casino scene.  “I wasn’t around that (casinos),” says Mia. “I got to spend more quality time with them.”

Reno, Nev. – Mar. 4, 2012: Mia Manipud looks at photos of her grandparents, Leopoldo ("Pol") and Mila Salvanera.  Pol died in July 2010 from a stroke, and Mila suffered multiple strokes last year and is living in a nursing home.

Reno, Nev. – Mar. 4, 2012: Mia Manipud looks at photos of her grandparents, Leopoldo (“Pol”) and Mila Salvanera. Pol died in July 2010 from a stroke, and Mila suffered multiple strokes last year and is living in a nursing home.

Marissa and Dom’s work schedules kept them away from their daughter most of the day, so Mia’s grandparents would care for her. She believes they shaped her values as she grew up. They taught her about kindness, giving to others and working hard — focusing on becoming the best person she could be.

“My grandparents were the core individuals of our family, they made sure everyone was always included and everyone was okay,” Mia says. “I apply that to my life every day and make sure no one is left out.”

As Mia grew older, she kept that close bond with her grandparents. She attended Reno High School. But during her senior year, just as she was applying for college, her family was thrown a curve ball–a change that would impact the entire family, especially Mia. Pol suffered a stroke and was admitted to intensive care.

When Mia saw Pol in the hospital she felt scared and confused. “I didn’t know how to react to my feelings. Luckily there was a nurse there taking his vital signs,” says Mia. The nurse saw Mia’s sadness for her grandfather and provided her emotional support and reassurance.

“She rubbed my back and said, ‘Hey, things will be OK,’ so that small gesture led to a lot of things that I want to do in my future to become a nurse,” Mia says.

Mia’s love for her grandfather and the care she saw him receive from nurses is the reason why Mia chose to pursue a career in nursing. Mia is now a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno, with a dual major in pre-nursing and community health sciences with a minor in gerontology.

After Mia’s third attempt applying to nursing school she has been accepted into the prestigious program and is expected to graduate in 2016.

Along with Pell Grant scholarships and loans, Mia has been working at UNR’s Financial Aid office to save up for nursing school. Mia believes she will have to give up her social life, work–or both–to focus on nursing school.


Hear Mia talk about the importance of education in her family:

Although Mia is able to afford college on her own, she says she owes her opportunity of an education to her grandparents.

“Both of my grandparents were the ones who allowed me to get my education,” says Mia. “Growing up they always emphasized the value of doing well in school and being the best possible version you can be.”

After graduation, Mia plans to stay in Reno because of the high demand for nurses.

“I want to work for either Renown or St. Mary’s and see how it goes from there,” says Mia.

However, Mia isn’t opposed to moving after she establishes her career. “I am not a person to stay in one place,” says Mia. “I want to explore and see what else the world has to offer.”


Audio, photos and video by Beau Smith

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