OP-ED

Humans of Cranston

Posted 11/22/22

Humans of Cranston is a recurring column showcasing the stories of Cranston residents’ community involvement, diversity, and unique life perspectives.

Berta Santes is a Guatemalan mother of …

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OP-ED

Humans of Cranston

Posted

Humans of Cranston is a recurring column showcasing the stories of Cranston residents’ community involvement, diversity, and unique life perspectives.


Berta Santes is a Guatemalan mother of five who loves to volunteer with children in the Cranston community and works with CCAP’s Head Start program.

“My mother came to the USA first and five years later I was brought over, too; that was 30 years ago. I married young when I was 16 years old. I had my first child at 17 years old, and I have four sons and a daughter. My first child is 45 years old and he helped me a lot when I separated from my husband 17 years ago. I’ve lived in Cranston for 17 years ... I’ve lived in different states: Houston, Louisiana, California, Seattle .... My first son graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a degree in general engineering. Thank God I had the support of my children when I had my daughter when I did not work. I dedicated myself to taking care of children of friends or neighbors in my house to be able to take care of my children and my little daughter .... When I arrived here, I felt very happy because I had many opportunities and because my family has supported me. I decided to stay to take care of my daughter. My life changed when my daughter was born ... I had my daughter despite the difficult circumstances. I thank God for my daughter and my children are a blessing for me.

I describe myself as a humble person with a big heart. I like children, I like to take care of children and I use the experience of taking care of my five children to do so. I’ve volunteered to take care of children in the church. The reason I arrived in Cranston is because my family lives here. My mother has been a great help, always helping me with money even since I was in Guatemala, and she paid all the expenses so that I could travel to the USA. Before, traveling from Guatemala to this state every year to visit my family, I wanted to stay until one day I decided to stay -- that was 30 years ago. Since then, I’ve been happy to be here with my family and to build my home to make my nest here in Cranston. All my children went to school in Cranston. I decided to take classes for parents of how to help my children how to support them and they gave me a certificate.

One day I hope to be able to be a teacher’s assistant, but first I have to get my GED. That has stopped me -- I have only taken some English classes, although it is very difficult to speak. Before, I didn’t have a car and it was difficult for me to get to the classes. With the cold it is difficult with children but even if I have struggled, now I have a car and it is easier for me to get around. I met Grace, a friend who helped me. She knew me working as a volunteer and has guided me to get nutrition classes and now, I have a job at Head Start. I am very happy to be able to share with children and help in their nutrition with their food. I always see if they need something, like shoes; I look for them and I give it to them or if they need something else, I give it to them. If I have little, I give it to others while I can as much as I can. I am very grateful to God and the people who have supported me that now I have a job that I really like after suffering in other jobs. Now my children and I are better.”


This project has been made possible by a Rhode Island Foundation Community Grant, and the efforts of the OneCranston Health Equity Zone of Comprehensive Community Action, Inc. in partnership with the Cranston Herald and Timothy McFate. Want to nominate a Cranston resident to be featured? Email JB at jfulbright@comcap.org.

humans, Berta

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