My American story started when my mother and I arrived in New York City in 1957, as immigrants from Colombia. I was 12 years old, did not speak a word of English, and had spent most of my schooling in Catholic boarding schools. However, I was ready to become an American as soon as I learned English. In time - a lifetime of 64 years - I learned English, graduated from High School, went to Hood College, obtained my B.A. in Spanish, got married, raised our children, founded a translation company in Montgomery County, with my husband, and sold it after 27 years to retire in Western Maryland. When I found out how many animals were euthanized in the county shelter, I became a Registered Vet Tech to raise funds to build an animal adoption center in 2014, which has now saved 11,600 cats and dogs. And that’s my American Story.