English in Action hosted their annual Immigrant Voices event from the Third Street Center in Carbondale on Sunday, Oct. 25. With just family members in the audience, five different speakers shared their stories this year. Aspen Public Radio will broadcast the full event on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m, or you can listen to the individual stories right now using the links below.
Follow along as host Alya Howe introduces each speaker before they share their unique journey to the Roaring Fork Valley.
Ricardo was born in Gridley, California close to where his parents were working on a farm. He and his family returned to Mexico when Ricardo was six months old. He grew up with Spanish as his first language. In his teens, Ricardo started to learn English after some bad experiences as a non-English-speaking US citizen. Ricardo holds an Architectural degree from Universidad Michoacana in Morella, Mexico. Motivated by a devastating financial crisis in Mexico ten years ago, Ricardo returned to the US to start a new life for his wife and two kids. He is now a special education professional at Carbondale Community School where he enjoys working with children. Ricardo also teaches at Carbondale’s Colorado Mountain College to help adults earn their GED diplomas.
Originally from Colombia, Arabella has been a student with English In Action since 2007. A dedicated volunteer in our community, she serves on the English In Action Student Leadership Committee and is an active member of Mountain Voices Project. She has raised two daughters here in the valley, one of whom just received a full scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. Arabella works as a preschool teacher in Basalt. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, reading and hiking. A student of the natural world, Arabella is amazed by both Nature’s mysteries and resiliency of the human body.
Elvis was born in Guatemala and has lived in the United States since 2018. He is 29 years old and worked in a bank before coming here. He is passionate about music and plays in two local worship bands. In 2019, he met his tutor, Dan, and since then they have become fast friends and meet regularly to study English. Elvis lives by his favorite Bible verse, from Proverbs 16:3: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans.”
Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Berenice moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in 1987 at the age of 5. She is married with a one-year old son and is the Assistant Director at the Basalt Regional Library. In her free time, she enjoys active outdoor pursuits, reading, and watching movies with her husband. She is currently inspired by Ruby Bridges, an African American civil rights activist. As a little girl in kindergarten, Ruby desegregated an all-white school in New Orleans. Berenice admires the courage and conviction of activists like Ruby and those who came before and after her.
Tobias moved to New York City from Germany in 1999 and met his wife, Dyna. They came to Colorado in 2012 by way of Houston and Miami. With a background in hotel management, Tobias now works with his wife in their family company, Rimkus Real Estate. Outside of work, Tobias is a passionate outdoorsman. He enjoys road and mountain biking, alpine skiing, hiking, golfing and gardening. When indoors, Tobias enjoys reading, spending time with his wife and canine children, and traveling to support Dyna at her bowling tournaments.
All speaker biographies were provided by English in Action