Print Back to top
News Article

National Hispanic Heritage Month: In their own words (Part 3)

A Denver Water customer service representative talks about her background and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life.

Denver Water is very proud of our diverse workforce. We asked a few of our employees to share in their own words what National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, means to them and how their culture and backgrounds have provided inspiration to their lives.

Marlen Betancourt, Customer Care representative

I moved to the United States about 15 years ago from Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, Mexico. Even though I came with my immediate family it was very hard to start this new life as a teenager. But my family is everything to me and all I wanted was to be with them.

When we first got here, we didn’t have any friends or much money, especially for things like birthday parties for me, my sister and my three brothers. When we lived in Mexico, we would have birthday parties every year until we turned 12 years old, so things were a little different when we moved to the U.S. But no matter how broke we were, my parents would always find a way to get us a cake for our birthday and they always sang “Happy Birthday” to us.

Marlen Betancourt enjoys time out and about with her family.

Now that I’m a mother with a 2-year-old son, I definitely make sure he has a birthday cake every year and we sing “Happy Birthday” in Spanish and English every time!

I’m also happy that my son is learning to speak English and Spanish. A few months ago, it seemed like he was only speaking English. Now about 70 percent of his vocabulary is in Spanish. That makes me happy because one day I will take him to visit my grandparents in Mexico and he will have to speak Spanish.

My family is so special to me. When my parents decided we were moving to the U.S., it was important for us all to be together. If my parents decided to move back to Mexico, every single one of us would have to go along! But thinking of us being apart and being a mom truly helps me to remember how important it is to spend as much time with my family as possible.

For other stories from National Hispanic Heritage Month, also read about Dr. Selene Hernandez-Ruiz, water quality scientist with Denver Water, and Jose Salas, Media Relations Specialist, in their own words.