Catalina Ruiz: A better life, one step at a time

Catalina Ruiz came to York from Mexico in search of a better life for her family.

Presented by: Our York Media

People used to give Catalina Ruiz funny looks when she was out walking in York.

She moved here from Mexico 18 years ago to make a better life for her family. Back then, she says, the sidewalks were pretty much empty.

While everyone else drove through the city, Catalina preferred to walk.

She walked to the York County Literacy Council where a volunteer, Stephanie, helped her learn English.

She walked to Martin Library to check out books on cooking and baking, her passion.

Now, she walks to Central Market, where she just opened a cupcake stand in January.

Walking in a city changes your perspective.

“You can feel York when you walk,” she says.

People who just drive through might not see it, she says, but York is changing.

York is growing. It’s beautiful.

Catalina Ruiz

Over the years, she’s watched as people started taking more care to make the outside of their homes look nice.

She sees people out cleaning the streets and sidewalks in the morning.

New trees have been planted and street lights installed.

And she’s watched the daily progress as new businesses have opened and thrived.

Now, she’s not the only one walking, she says. The sidewalks are full of people, especially on First Fridays.

“York is growing,” she says. “It’s beautiful.”

Catalina loves York.

She says she’s been met with kindness since the day she moved here. Her children, the reason she moved to America, have thrived here. Her voice shines with pride as she describes their academic and musical accomplishments. A similar pride comes through when she talks about York.

This is her community.

Sometimes, she thinks about what would happen if she had to go back to Mexico.

She just doesn’t think of it as her home anymore.

“York is my home,” she says.

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