From Worker to Citizen: the Story of Teresa Gonzalez

Published by Program Manager on

Article written by Yvonne Reyes (KYR Intern)

Mrs. Teresa Gonzalez is originally from Pachuca Hidalgo, Mexico. She arrived in the United States in 1998, looking for a way to support herself. She first lived in El Paso, Texas, working for 18 years as a housekeeper. Having fled an abusive relationship in Mexico, she was able to obtain a visa, and with help from a family for whom she worked for many years, eventually achieved permanent resident status.  In 2016, Mrs. Gonzalez decided to move to College Station to live with her daughter and to continue to work, setting aside her savings for her eventual retirement. 
After hearing about BIIN from a family member, Mrs. Gonzalez began taking English and citizenship classes. She was also invited to join BIIN’s board as a representative for the students.  After taking classes and preparing for the interview,Mrs. Gonzalez took the naturalization exam in 2018, and was very proud to pass the exam on her first try.  In celebrating this achievement, she recalled the obstacles she had faced, including:  her age, language barriers, wavering self-confidence, as well as the difficulty of getting to class when her daughter was unavailable to take her.  But she also recalled the support she received from many of the people she met through BIIN, including Dr. Nancy Plankey-Videla, who had invited her to join the board and encouraged her never to give up on her goal of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Mrs. Gonzalez still lives in College Station, and is now able to enjoy her retirement, including making short trips back to Mexico to visit family.  Mrs. Gonzalez remains deeply grateful to BIIN, its volunteers and board members, especially Dr. Plankey-Videla.  She credits BIIN with giving her not only the resources she needed to pass the citizenship exam, but also lasting friendships and the confidence that motivates her to do anything she sets her mind to. Whenever she has the opportunity, she recommends BIIN and urges others to take advantage of the organization’s services.