A desire to learn leads to happiness

As she continued classes at Centro San Juan Diego, Ana Castañeda felt her confidence grow.

“I’m happy with myself, because I learned a lot,” Ana shared while inside the downtown Denver Hispanic ministry center.

Ana first came to the United States with her family more than 10 years ago.

“It was difficult,” she said, at first, because she did not speak English and was unaccustomed to life in America. Then Ana heard about Centro and the array of classes offered to help enrich the lives of Hispanics in the Denver area. She enrolled in an introduction to English class.

“I enjoyed my English class,” said Ana, who attends Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Denver. “My life changed, and now I feel more confidence in myself. I’m also able to translate for other people.”

Ana never forgot the positive experience—the new people she met and friendly teachers and staff. About 10 years later she returned to take more classes. Although finances were tight for Ana—who worked at a florist shop and was raising three children—Centro offered scholarships to help pay for more educational classes.

Ana continued her education and took a basic computer class and more English classes. She also completed a citizenship class. Every day she listened to audio tapes to learn about American history and government.

“I wanted to learn more and more,” she said. “I listened in the car and at work. I learned a lot about the country.”

This year Ana became a naturalized citizen. She has ambitions to continue and earn her GED.

She’s grateful to Centro, her teachers and God for the blessings it brought to her life.

“If you want to learn something, Centro is the right place,” she said. “It’s wonderful and teachers are very nice.”

Ana continued, “When I need something, I know where to go. Thank you, Centro, for everything.”