A typical day at Catherine McAuley Center for Marimer, who is our RefugeeRISE Education Coordinator – is anything but typical. “My desk is located at the front of the building,” Marimer says, “so I try to give a warm welcome to people and help them. When I am not doing this, I am working on projects like visual media, drawings, posters, giving ideas for handouts, researching and tracking statistics and more.” Marimer has a creative side that she is able to express by working on big art projects at the Center, such as a mural for the community room and creating graphics for curriculum materials. She also gives art therapy classes every two weeks and attends meetings with clients who are in need of a translator (she is a native Spanish speaker).
As an immigrant to the United States and native of Mexico City, Marimer discovered the Catherine McAuley Center when she was looking for help in preparing to take the American citizenship test. She studied citizenship for ten months and passed the test with flying colors! Soon after that, CMC asked Marimer if she would like to become a tutor. When the pandemic started Marimer was forced to stop teaching. She saw the panic and need for masks among communities and so Marimer decided to make them (over 800 masks!!) and give them away to the local community here as well as other states such as New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Virginia, and California. Some of her masks made it to her native Mexico as well!
As a result of her active role at the Center, Marimer was asked to join CMC as part of AmeriCorps and quickly said yes. She also helped promote the COVID-19 vaccine here in our community by making videos in Spanish to encourage the Hispanic community to get vaccinated. “I always try to find a way to help my community,” says Marimer. She says she has gained a lot from the experience at CMC but most importantly – self-confidence in herself and her communication skills. Since English is not her first language, it has helped her build language and other skills when helping people find the resources they need. Art is another avenue Marimer uses to contribute her time and talent.
Marimer has applied for a second term with AmeriCorps because she still feels she has much left to do. She wants to make a greater impact on the people she helps and keep learning. Marimer is gratified by the outcome of her efforts so far and excited to be able to continue to make a contribution. All the things Marimer is a part of have a common theme: helping others.