Ms. Carmen Navarro-Gao has come full circle in the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library. Carmen went from a Literacy student, to volunteer, to library staff member, to teacher, and is now looking forward to her retirement. She has helped grow the Literacy program into the success it is today! Last year, the Literacy Department serviced patrons from 39 countries speaking 25 languages. Carmen has been dedicated to the Community Library from the very beginning of her journey; in turn, she has provided high quality service to our patrons through the years, motivated to help them as the library helped her. We wish her all the best in her new adventures!

Carmen started as a Literacy student in 2000 after coming to the United States of America from Peru. The Community Library was her first stop as she knew the library was an integral part of the community, a welcoming place which opens doors, provides support and guidance, and enriches lives. For Carmen, walking through the library’s doors was an important step toward achieving her goals. Carmen’s first goal was to learn English; she invested time and energy into taking classes, studying, and improving her ability to read, write, and speak English. She brought her son Jeffrey to the Family Literacy program as a young boy; Jeffrey is a William Floyd School District graduate and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Carmen is a proud “Navy Mom!”

Carmen achieved her goal of becoming a citizen of the United States of America. Knowing what a privilege it is to be a citizen of our great country, Carmen wanted to share this gift with others. Carmen began working in the Literacy Department in 2008 and she became the Citizenship Preparation Class instructor the following year. Since then, Carmen has helped 130 new Americans achieve their citizenship goal. 

To become a citizen of the United States of America, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) you must meet eligibility requirements: 

  • at least 18 years old at the time of filing
  • be a permanent resident for at least five years
  • show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state where you apply
  • demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years prior to filing
  • show that you have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months of the 5 years prior to filing 
  • be able to read, write, and speak English
  • demonstrate a knowledge of U.S. history and government
  • be a person of good moral character
  • demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution

If you are a Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library patron interested in citizenship, visit the Literacy Office for more information. Currently, the cost of filing an application for citizenship is $725. The Community Family Literacy Project, Inc. accepts donations towards the Citizenship Scholarship fund. If you are interested in donating to the scholarship fund, please call or visit the Literacy Office or MMSCL website and click “Support Literacy.”