New Castle woman’s volunteer work forges fond, fruitful friendship |

New Castle woman’s volunteer work forges fond, fruitful friendship

Kay Vasilakis
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

NEW CASTLE, Colorado ” After years of various forms of volunteering in the Roaring Fork Valley, Judy Beattie of New Castle decided to volunteer with Literacy Outreach.

Two years ago, Beattie was paired up with Violeta Flores, who wanted to learn to speak English, to understand and learn about the USA and become a citizen. It was Beattie’s first time being a literacy coach, but she does not speak Spanish. She and Flores overcame their communication difficulties, and a beautiful friendship evolved.

Then they worked together for more than a year to study for Flores’ citizenship examination.

“Lucky us! It has worked out very well,” Beattie said. “Occasionally, we still have a ‘word’ problem, she knows it in Spanish, and maybe not in English or maybe there is actually not an equivalent word in both languages. We always have been able to work it out. Her work ethic is exceptional.”

Flores is a very bright, interesting and lovely young woman, wife and mother of three. Her husband, Gabriel, and the kids are all citizens. They moved to the Glenwood Springs area 12 years ago.

After taking literacy classes with Beattie, Flores used the Glenwood Springs Citizenship Drive in April to get the necessary papers together.

August 27 was the big day for Flores. She took the citizenship test in Grand Junction.

“It was easy, but I was so nervous, at first my brain was stuck,” said Flores with a laugh. “At the beginning of the interview, I could do nothing, but then I relaxed. If you work and study, the test questions are easy, and you can pass the test.”

Beattie and Flores made a couple of trips to Grand Junction for fingerprinting and other governmental-type things, and waited for the next set of papers to be completed and dates to be determined.

Violeta and Gabriel Flores and Beattie were at the Grand Junction courthouse at 9 a.m. Oct. 14. Violeta was sworn in as an American citizen with 11 other people from nine countries.

The potential new citizens were greeted and everyone recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The judge explained the obligations and significance of what the new citizens were about to do. The oath was administered, each new citizen offered a little about themselves and acknowledged their families and friends. Certificates and small flags were given out.

The new citizens cheered and hugged, shook hands and congratulated themselves.

“I think it’s a personal goal for me,” said Flores. “I hit my goal. It’s like a big dream for me in the United States. And it really made me happy.”

Flores is grateful to Beattie for helping her meet her goal.

“It was amazing,” she said. “Judy is a wonderful person, she really pushed me to get my citizen papers. I was afraid to take the test. Every class with her increased my self-esteem. She said ‘You are wonderful, you are smart.’ She was a great person for me.

“I encourage everyone to get the resident card. I believe everyone who wants to get citizenship has the opportunity.”

More potential citizens will have the same opportunity, because a second Citizenship Drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at St. Mary Church in Rifle.

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