How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
My husband and I moved to Hernando County in 1989 from Massapequa, N.Y. My husband, Michael, passed away in 1995, but he was so happy he got to enjoy six years here in sunny Florida. I was born in Puerto Rico.
Who are the members of your family?
Michael and I had two daughters: DiAna and Vanessa.
DiAna and her husband, Carlos Carrasquillo, live in Spring Hill. They have two sons: Carlos, 15, and Antonio, 10. DiAna runs a local dance studio (DiAna's Dance Express), and her husband runs a local martial arts studio (Dragon's Dojo).
My daughter Vanessa Bozman lives in Atlanta. She is a CPA working for SunTrust Bank's main office in Georgia.
Tell us about your career.
My career with HEART Literacy here in Florida began with me volunteering for the VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program, where I served for five years.
I can tell you it was very rewarding helping adult students. I also assisted at the test sites. But my background is in bookkeeping. So one day I found out that someone in the HEART Literacy office was retiring. I applied and got the job. That was 1997.
My current title is secretary III, which includes bookkeeping, registering new students, following up with attendants, ordering merchandise and paying the bills. I am also the program's translator. We handle everything for the program from this office.
To put it plainly, through the adult education program we help people achieve their goals and make their lives better. Through the program, you can earn your GED. We also teach English as a second language. All of these help our students find jobs, which in turn helps the community. These are some of the reasons that I haven't retired yet.
In 2004, I was the School Related Employee of the Year finalist for the school services division at HEART Literacy.
What other kinds of activities are you involved in now?
I belong to the Latin-American Cultural and Civic Association, where I am a member of the scholarship committee. In previous years I have also served on the board. I am also a member of the Hispanic Scholarship Civic and Cultural Foundation, where I serve as assistant treasurer. With both groups, I help with fundraisers and other community events that we hold.
I also am a member of Grace World Outreach Church in Brooksville and sing in the choir. I am also a member of the Suncoast Festival Singers. I took one year off, but will start up with them again in September.
Do you have any special hobbies?
I sing, that is what I do.
It is what I have always done. In high school back in New York, I was a member of the Old City Choir for three years. Then, while attending Hunter College, I joined the choir. I actually minored in music and majored in romance languages.
My dream was to become an opera singer, and I thought knowing different languages would be helpful. Well, I didn't become an opera singer, but I do speak Spanish, English and Italian fluently.
Also, for 10 years I was a member of the Bach Choir in Farmingdale, N.Y. Today, while I still love singing, I only want to sing God's praises.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
I like shopping and enjoy all the new shops here in Hernando County. Of course, I also love spending time with my grandchildren. That is the best.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
I actually love Hernando County as it is, and I don't feel that we are too overcrowded yet. What we need here is a good bookstore. I would also love an Olive Garden restaurant here.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
When I first moved to Florida, through the church I joined then, I participated in a steel drum band and actually learned to play the steel drums.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at email@example.com or (352) 848-1438.