Citizenship Classes at SHE’s Palm Terrace in Lindsay

Citizenship Classes at SHE’s Palm Terrace in Lindsay

Posted on August 31, 2023

When Alma Veronica Ayon received her naturalization certificate on August 14th, she felt relieved because she now had more opportunities to live with her family in the United States after years of uncertainty regarding their residency status.  

“Es una sensación realmente maravillosa saber que aprobé y que todo el tiempo de preparación valió la pena,” said Alma. (“It’s a really great feeling to know I passed and that all of the time preparing was worth it.”) 

Alma is now one of many others who passed their federal naturalization exam thanks to the help of Teresa and Valeriano Saucedo, who have retired from extensive law careers as an attorney and judge, respectively. They offer weekly citizenship classes at no cost to anyone interested in preparing for their exam to become U.S. citizens. The classes are held at the Palm Terrace community center on Tuesday evenings to ensure students can participate outside work hours.  

SHE’s Resident Services has partnered with the Saucedo’s for several years to help provide hundreds of residents in Lindsay and the surrounding area with a safe space to have bilingual courses in U.S. civics, history, and government knowledge needed to pass their exams. They have a 100% success rate for students who take their course and then go on to have their citizenship interview. 

The classes are divided into eight sections, but Teresa encourages anyone interested to attend regardless of which area they focus on that week. “No matter when they come, they can start at whatever point because we go back and repeat the information after finishing the final section, “said Teresa. “This has been helpful to students in the past because if they need to take a break for work or another circumstance, they can always jump back in and continue their process.” 

Alma first learned about the citizenship classes at Palm Terrace through her sister-in-law, who recommended she sign up, too.   

“Elegí completar el programa de ciudadanía porque quería poder tener más derechos para mí y mis hijas. Tengo tres hijas, dos de ellas nacieron en México y también necesitaban obtener su ciudadanía,” said Alma. 

(“I chose to complete the citizenship program because I wanted to be able to have more rights for me and my daughters. I have three daughters; two of them were born in Mexico and also needed to get their citizenship.”) 

Alma said not being able to speak English was challenging and intimidating.  

“Al principio estaba nerviosa por ir a clase porque no hablaba nada de inglés, pero todos los materiales también estaban en español, así que aún podía aprender la información”, said Alma. “Teresa me ayudó tomándose el tiempo para repasar conmigo individualmente todos los materiales necesarios para obtener mi ciudadanía, incluido qué esperar el día del examen.” 

(“I was nervous to go to class at first because I didn’t speak any English, but all of the materials were in Spanish too, so I could still learn the information,” said Alma. “Teresa helped me by taking the time to individually go over all the materials with me necessary to obtain my citizenship, including what to expect on test day.”)

Teresa said seeing Alma attend class even after working long hours harvesting grapes in a nearby field was inspirational, especially as her 8-year-old daughter accompanied her. “We once asked her how she felt about coming with her, and she said, ‘We want to help her to become a citizen because she works all day in the fields. My mom gets up really early and doesn’t even have time to eat before she comes to class. We try to do everything we can to help her, like mopping our home floors or washing the dishes.” 

“It’s a reminder of how much the process can be a real family investment, especially for low-income families,” said Teresa.  

To learn more about the program, contact Teresa at 559-967-1354. You can also download a flyer here.

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