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Sierra College student is a Gerber Baby mom

6-month-old Phoenix a finalist in photo competition
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Monique Molina knows her son is cute, but she didn’t think about entering his photo in a nationwide competition until she heard about the 2012 Gerber Generation Photo Search twice in a short period of time.

“I was just a park with baby Phoenix, and these two young ladies were with their kids,” she remembered. “They just said, ‘Your baby is really beautiful. Have you heard of Gerber?’”

Molina did some research and found an online photo competition to find the next face of Gerber and give scholarships to six finalists and one grand-prize $50,000 scholarship winner. Molina submitted her son’s picture and began a social media campaign to gather votes for 6-month-old Phoenix Sky. When she found out he was one of the finalists, she said, she was elated, and not just to see her baby’s picture on Gerber’s website. Phoenix now has $10,000 waiting for him when he goes to college – and mom said she’ll support him using it for whatever education he chooses, even if it’s clown school, she laughed.

“I am a foster youth, and my family has never been to college,” she said. “I am also a single mom and student, and I find it important that while I’m trying to get an education myself, that my son will be able to certainly have an education.”

In addition to studying criminal justice at Sierra College, the single mom and Sacramento resident works as a paralegal. And while that means putting her son in daycare a few days a week, she still finds time every day for quality time with her baby. She said juggling all of her responsibilities as a mom, employee and student is made easier with the support of family and friends, including Diane Shinstock and Jan Judson.

When Molina’s family and friends found out that little Phoenix was one of the finalists, they threw him a party to celebrate. According to Gerber’s Facebook page, more than 300,000 photos were entered. Molina said her son is taking his newfound celebrity in stride, as Phoenix has always been a people person.

“We invited the people who voted and he wore a business suit and he got a little cake with a picture on it and it said ‘Congratulations Phoenix,’” Molina said. “He was really dressed to impress that night, and he was just really happy. He’s a happy baby.”