Little by little because I learned—I started to work here from basic. I did every single type of job here. And first I start to step up little by little. Step by step. I did a few things before to have the position I have right now. It's been a process of believing myself, being able to do things myself, being able to do things I didn't know that I could do. Two times I got people right here, clients or people who were prospects who said I don't want to speak to you, I want someone who speaks English, and I said, "This is why you came. I am the only one who can help you." "Oh, you are not American." "Yes I am. I became an American citizen two years ago."
Monica Salazar Carmona, born in Colombia, came to America at the age of 27 to marry a man she’d met on the Internet. Although the man had promised to send her to college, Monica soon found herself trapped in a condo with an abusive husband. Her embarrassment about her situation and her limited English made it difficult for Monica to leave. However, after the birth of her son, Monica eventually confided in a neighbor who helped her find the community services she needed. As Monica supported herself and her child with a series of jobs, people sometimes seemed to mistreat her because of her limited English. However, today Monica is proud to empower others through her work on community health at the YWCA as director of health equality and community health. The education she has received through the Clemente Course in the Humanities has also taught her to believe in her own abilities. No longer a believer in the American Dream, Monica intends to remain in this country and make it a better place for her son to grow up in. Yet, when people complain about hard times, Monica thinks back to the difficulties she has overcome and thinks anyone can do the same with hard work and education.