Maribel Torres earned her United States citizen ship Nov. 1 after being a resident for nearly 26 years.
Torres grew up in Mexico near the U.S. boarder. She started attending school in the U.S. when she was 13 and didn’t know any English. She faced difficulties with bullies early on in her American school and didn’t want to go at first. After her mother told her how much she believed in her and how much better this education would be for her life Torres continued in her American school, learned English and graduated with honors.
Once she came to Osceola over 20 years ago with her husband and two small children she learned how much she enjoyed helping other people who struggled with English the way she had. At first Torres helped translate occasionally and after being in town for a few years the Clarke Pre School wanted to hire her. Torres was going through a tough time with her family at that time and didn’t really want to work but the school was persistent.
“I said to myself I’ll work two weeks and then be done,” said Torres. “Now two weeks has turned into 12 years.”
Torres is very appreciative of Mary Jo Shade for always believing in her and welcoming her into the Parents as Teachers organization.
Torres works at Parents as Teachers and helps many Hispanic families that speak little or no English. She enjoys empowering women and educating children and parents.
“I still see kids I have worked with and they come up and hug me,” said Torres.
Torres was also one of the first Hispanic employees at Fareway, where she still works part time, though it its much more diverse now.
“Jeff was always very kind and supportive,” said Torres.
She enjoys talking with customers and helping people. She makes it her goal for every customer at Fareway to have a good time when they come through her check out lane. She wants to make people smile and brighten their day.
Torres began the process and paperwork for citizenship in April. It cost $1,000 and she had to study and learn the answers to 100 questions that would be asked in English, she would also have to answer and write in English for the test.
Torres thanks her three children, friends and co-workers for helping her study and encouraging her. Of the 100 questions that she had to study only 10 would be asked.
After receiving a letter Torres was summoned to take her test in Kansas City. She and her husband drove down and she was anxious about the test.
“I couldn’t sleep the whole night before,” said Torres.
After Torres answered the first six questions correctly she had passed. She then had to wait to receive all her documentation at the ceremony in Des Moines Nov. 1.
The ceremony Nov. 1 was held in Des Moines and the Mayor of Des Moines, a representative of the House, a video from President Trump were there to welcome Torres as a U.S. citizen.
To anyone who is considering becoming a citizen, Torres said,”Do it. You won’t regret it. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.”