Shely Rodrigues, a sophomore studying political science, discovered the magic of baking for others to cure a bad day.
It wasn’t until Rodrigues served her mission that she fell in love with baking. While serving in the Brazil Santos Mission, Rodrigues baked cakes for new converts to celebrate their baptism. She began to notice the happiness that treats brought to people.
After growing up in Manaus, Brazil, moving to the U.S. sparked new baking ideas. Since Rodrigues could no longer purchase Brigadeiros, a Brazilian birthday treat, she learned to make them instead.
“I was away from my family, so I had to learn things by myself and how to bake from scratch,” Rodrigues said. “I was able to improve my skills during quarantine because I was just in my apartment, and I didn’t have anything to do other than bake.”
As she watched the smiles on other’s faces while eating her treats, Rodrigues knew this was something she had to continue with.
“I love making others feel special and just making them feel like they matter,” Rodrigues said. “It helps people have good memories of you.”
Rodrigues mentioned that she wants to be remembered how grandmas are seen — always having a sweet treat to give that nothing can compare to.
“It’s a way of you leaving your mark on someone’s life,” Rodrigues said. “No one has the same recipes; everyone has their own flavors.”
This hobby has turned into a lifestyle that allows Rodrigues to spread happiness. She realized that while she was serving others, she feels an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
“You might not be the best, you might not be a MasterChef, but if you just start by simple things, you feel good about yourself,” Rodrigues said.