Gloria De Los Santos– Mexico

As a small child, Gloria and her family came to the Mahoning Valley in 1966 from a small town located about 5 hours south of Mexico City.  Gloria describes her mother and father as very hard workers in Mexico.  Her mother owned a grocery store and worked at the post office in town while her father had land that he harvested every year. He also raised cattle and horses.  When the family moved to this country, her father sold everything but the land and house.

Gloria and her family arrived in Youngstown in May.  Since she spoke no English at all, she immediately went to summer school to learn the language. The International Institute provided many opportunities and activities for Gloria and her parents to meet and socialize with people from many different countries.  Also, Gloria’s parents attended classes at the Institute to learn English.  Her father worked many years for the B&O railroad.

Gloria has fond memories of the west side neighborhood where she and her family lived in Youngstown.  As she describes it, there were people from many different nationalities and they all embraced the family and did many things to make her family feel welcome.  Classmates at school also were very welcoming and friendly. When Gloria graduated from high school, she worked at a grocery store for 13 years, married, and had 2 children. Gloria has been employed for the past 21 years as a customer experience manager at a local bank. .

Since family is very important to Gloria, she feels very fortunate that 5 of her siblings also live in the Mahoning Valley while 2 live in California.

Going back to Mexico to be with family and friends from her childhood is very important to Gloria.  She returns in December and stays for 2 weeks. During that time, there are many fiestas and holidays such as the 2 day Our Lady of Guadalupe festival that allow her to practice her culture’s traditions.

Although Gloria speaks English very fluently, she maintains her Spanish language. Knowing two countries and their cultures is very important for her and expresses this by saying that …”America is a very great country…when you visit another country ad you see how people live, how people suffer, you come here, and I thank God that I have the opportunity to know both countries.”

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