Marisela’s Story

Marisela’s Story

Marisela was shaking nervously as she pushed open the door labeled U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She couldn’t believe this day was here. Her journey began nearly ten years ago when she came to Texas from Mexico. Marisela was married with four children, and she was about to show her family hard work pays off.

It was 2019 when one of her friends told her about the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Center of Hope. Marisela spoke very little English, and the thought of improving her skills was intriguing. She made the decision to enroll and began the beginner level ESL class.

“Center of Hope has been such a blessing to me,” says Marisela. “They have provided me with a great learning environment. Plus, I was able to bring my little girl with me. I would not have been able to come if it hadn’t been for their free childcare.”

After being in the program for several years and moving up to ESL Level 4, Marisela learned of a new program the Center began in January 2021. The class was Citizenship Prep, which focused on helping students prepare for their two-part naturalization test. “My husband had received his citizenship, and he kept telling me I could do it,” states Marisela. “I wasn’t as confident as he was. But, eventually I gave in and started the class.”

“My two teachers, Robin and LaRue, were so encouraging and they helped prepare me for the test. I couldn’t have done it without them,” she said. After a year, Marisela was ready. “I walked into the testing room and was greeted by a woman who was smiling back at me. That eased my nerves, and as I started taking the test, I felt confident. When I found out later that I had passed, I was really, really happy!”
Marisela took her Oath of Allegiance at the naturalization ceremony in July 2023 with her proud family surrounding her. She has now moved up to ESL Level 5, with one more level to go before graduation!

For more information about our citizenship program, visit: