MEET OUR FOUNDER
Arely Mendoza-Cantos is the founder and director of ALWAYS GRACIOUS- The Academy of Etiquette & Charm, the first Bilingual (Spanish/English) school of Etiquette and Image on Long island.
Born in El Salvador, Arely was raised in a traditional home and attended a Catholic school where etiquette and protocol were a component of the school curriculum. It was there she developed a passion for good manners and social graces that would stay with her forever. Due to the political instability in her country, Arely's family immigrated to the USA. She arrived in New York as an adolescent.
Arely holds a Master's degree in Public Affairs and Administration from The Metropolitan College of New York, and in Psychology from Hunter College. She also holds a Certificate in Professional Table Manners from The Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette. Arely took modeling classes at the Mundo Hispano Modeling School, and photography and image classes at the D'Ante Modeling Studio.
During her college freshman years Arely envisioned creating a business where children, teens and adults could learn about etiquette and style; and in 2004 she opened ALWAYS GRACIOUS - The Academy of Etiquette & Charm, an institution dedicated exclusively to the teachings of good manners and proper social behavior.
Since its inception the Academy has been a success, over the years Arely has presented her Etiquette courses and workshops to individuals, families, groups as well as community organizations, schools, colleges and business.
However, it is important to mention that besides her passion for the Etiquette field, Arely also has an strong background in Human Services in the area of Mental Health as well in the area of teaching. She had the opportunity to work in both fields carrying out different responsibilities that gave her a great deal of knowledge and shaped her to be the creative, enthusiastic, nurturing and patient teacher that she is today with students of any age.
Due to her emphasis in Etiquette and Mental health, especially for the Latino community, Arely has been invited to present as a key note speaker in professional conferences to address issues related to Cultural Diversity, Cultural Competency, Disparity in Mental Health Services for Latinos, and Manners and Etiquette for Professional. Some of the places where Arely has participated as guest speaker are:
- The Latino Mental Health Conference at NYU Post-Graduate Medical School in Manhattan
- The Latino Psychological Association of New Jersey Conference at Mount Clair University
- The Eastern Regional Clubhouse Conference at Stanford, Connecticut
- The Western Regional Clubhouse Coalition Conference at Golden, Colorado
- The Hispanic and Mental Health Conference at Wichita, Kansas
- The Mediterranean Social Psychiatric Rehabilitation Conference in Barcelona, Spain
- The Mediterranean Social Psychiatric Rehabilitation Conference in Milan, Italy
- The International Clubhouse Coalition Conference at Chattanooga, Tennessee
- La Facultad de Ciencias Sociales at the Universidad Francisco Gavidia, San Salvador, El Salvador
- El Congreso de la Mujer Latina Catolica en the Dioceses of Rockville Centre, Long Island
- The Latino Mental Health Conference at North General Hospital at Manhattan, New York; among others.
As an etiquette consultant, Arely had the pleasure to work as the Etiquette and Image consultant for:
- The Civic Committee of EL Salvador in Long Island
- La Tribuna Hispana Magazine peagent: "Miss Salvador USA"
Also she has been featured in local and international newspaper articles such as:
- El Diario de Hoy (El Salvador)
- Izalco News (Miami)
- La Tribuna Hispana (Long Island)
- Noticias Del Mundo Newspaper (New York)
- Newsday (New York)
- Long Island Parent Magazine
- The Malverne/West Hempstead Herald "Who's who in the Neighborhood"
She has been interview for online articles such as:
- Goarticles.co "May I break the Glass Ceiling, please?".
Arely has been interviewed on USA Latino TV programs such as:
- "Aquí y Ahora" (Univisión)
- "Rincón Latino" (Telemundo)
- "Entrevista al Día" (Channel 12 in El Salvador).
She has presented Etiquette segments in the following TV programs:
- "Centroamerica Nuestra" channel, 44, 54 and 38,
- "La Vida Latina" (Telecare, Long Island),
- "Las Comadres con Gloria B" (Telemund0), a
- "Viva la Vida" (TELEPAZ, Canal Sur, Miami, FL), and Fios TV.
Arely presents workshops on Life Skills, Good Manners and Business Etiquette to:
Arely is a member of The Association of Hispanic Mental Health Professionals (AHMHP). She collaborates with Learning for Life National Organization providing Etiquette workshops to children in Suffolk public schools. Also she works with the Diocese of Rockville Centre with the Office for the Protection of Children, Safe Enviroment and the VIRTUS program. Arely believes in the respect of human life at all stages, the respect of the dignity of the person and the importance of morality and social justice.
- Adelphy University
- Merchant Marine Academy
- Girl Scouts Troops of Nassau and Suffolk
- CWPost Long Island University
- The Friends Academy
- The Grenvale Academy
- and in many public and private instututions.
Arely states that one of the best gifts a parent can give to his/her child is to teach them good manners because good manners last a life time and can be passed from generation to generation. Good manners and respect are skills that are learned in the family and help us to make the world a better place to live in.
In her downtime, Arely loves reading and home decorating, but especially loves to spend time with her family and helping in her church and in the community.