Meet Manny Padro

"It's because of great teachers, mentors, and coaches – people were willing to reach out their hands and minds to help me learn and shape who I am today."

Manny Padro

"It's because of great teachers, mentors, and coaches – people were willing to reach out their hands and minds to help me learn and shape who I am today."


Manny Padro

MANNY W. PADRO moved from Puerto Rico to north Philadelphia when he was five, learning English as a second language and eventually following his entrepreneurial drive by delivering newspapers in his neighborhood. After graduating from Penn State, Manny worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service before transitioning to self-employment as a Certified Financial Planner™. Manny lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he enjoys spending time with family as a husband, father, and grandfather.


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Identify the best earning potential.


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"My background should have led me to a blue-collar future. That would have been fine, but that wasn’t my vision. I felt that college was the right route for me, although I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to study."

My Story

I spent the first few years of my life on a plantain and coffee farm in the mountains of Puerto Rico. There was a wooden bridge by our house that crossed a canyon to get to the main road. My dad carried me when we needed to cross. We would drink milk from fresh coconuts, enjoy fresh sugar cane, and listen to the Coqui frogs sing. In Puerto Rico we only spoke Spanish. My parents wanted us to have a different life and moved us to Philadelphia when I was 5 years old.

We were too poor to rent an apartment so we lived in my aunt’s basement in North Philadelphia to avoid being homeless. We lived in a row home, surrounded by other row homes and buildings. My father took odd jobs in order for him to provide for our family. Life in North Philly was completely different from the life I lived during my early years on the family farm.

I started attending school. A few years later desegregation became part of my daily life. I was bused from the local elementary school to a school farther away from home. My experience with desegregation meant violence in and out of school. I wasn’t safe walking on the sidewalk next to my aunt’s house, walking to school, riding the bus to school, going to the bathroom, or even playing at recess. The teachers in our schools weren’t prepared or equipped to prevent or handle the violence that was erupting in our community, much less prepare us for the future. It wasn’t a place I wanted to be. They couldn’t break up fights without possibly being assaulted or having their tires slashed in the school parking lot. They did the best they could, especially since they were given no support, but in these circumstances my education was not great.

Additionally I had to learn English since I only spoke and understood Spanish. My sisters and I learned quickly that we needed to talk white and act white. It helped us blend in better with some of my peers and deal with less racism, but we still had to deal with racism.

We were able to move out and into our own place after my dad had found a job and started bringing in wages. Eventually we moved out of North Philadelphia to Levittown. This move did not change the considerable chaos around us. There was less violence, but the education wasn’t much better. I trudged through school, not sure what I would do when I graduated from high school. You may wonder why I’m telling you about my background. It’s something I don’t speak about often, but I want you to know that the challenges you face, whether they are like mine or different, they do not have to stop you from finding and developing your talents and finding your passion in life.

Much of how students view themselves comes from how they perceive adults view them. And those views can be limiting. Former President George W. Bush addressed this in his May 16, 2015, commencement address at Southern Methodist University. In his unique style, he encouraged the students:, “To those of you graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards, and distinctions, I say well done. And as I like to tell the ‘C’ students, you too can be president.”

President Bush was pointing out that what we achieve in school isn’t the be-all and end-all of our potential, nor does it have to limit us.

The problem with hopes and prospects for life is that we often prescribe them for students. Many young people from poor, inner-city neighborhoods like mine was, are told, “Why would you think of college or trade school?” Meanwhile, many from wealthier suburbs are prescribed four-year university educations, whether it’s their passion or not. Generally, their futures look entirely different. If the parents work blue-collar jobs, then the student will likely will too. If the mother is a lawyer, then the daughter will probably go for a graduate degree.

Instead, what if there were a different way to approach kids’ futures? What if there is a different way to think about their aptitudes and possibilities in life? I believe there is—and I'm on a mission to change it.

Why I Do It

I am on a mission to help young people by providing direction to facilitate change, overcome challenges, and become positive contributing members of the community.

I want to help others through LEARNEARNGIVE transform the beliefs and mindset to seek change through education that will result in meaningful work leading to financial security.

Our Values Are:

  • Achievement (Earn) - Put one’s values into learning, earning, and giving process, and turning them into action
  • Helping Others - Provide support or assistance to those in need, whether large or small acts
  • Education (Learn) - Inspired young people to see their own aptitudes and attitudes to make a positive difference for themselves
  • Diversity - Appreciate and respect individual differences
  • Happiness (Give) - Take values and purpose, and go out into the world to live the life you want, helping people along the way.

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