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Celia Sotomayor Moody: A Devotion to Giving Back

September 14, 2017

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Celia Sotomayor Moody decided to be a part of the House of Mexico because she admired their work.

Retired teacher Celia Sotomayor Moody has a passion for learning and staying busy, so when the opportunity presented itself to hold a board position for an organization in San Diego, she took it.

“I think we can be busy and enjoy what we do at the same time, there is no time to lose or to feel sad,” Sotomayor Moody said.

She is a delegate for the House of Mexico, an organization that seeks to have representation of mexican culture in the International Cottages in Balboa Park. The House of Mexico is a member of the House of Pacific Relations, a consortium of different countries.

Sotomayor Moody said the work with the House of Mexico has brought her such satisfaction and she has had the opportunity to learn about the different organizations.

Although its name implies it, the House of Mexico does not have a physical house or cottage among the International Cottages. Sotomayor Moody said it is sad that they have not been able to raise the funds necessary to build their cottage but she is helping raise awareness by increasing representation of the House of Mexico.

Sotomayor Moody is the treasurer for House of Pacific Relations Ladies Auxiliary, an organization made of members from the different houses in the consortium of the House of Pacific Relations. She is the first Latina to hold this position.

Each month the members of HPR Ladies Auxiliary meet and hold a luncheon designed to allow a different nationality to host each time and share their diversity in food, music, clothes and traditions.

She knows that for the House of Mexico, having representation has been difficult but she likes to tell the other members that they are a new group and that they will not give up. She was recently named volunteer of the year by the House of Mexico for her commitment to the organization.

But volunteering is not something new for Sotomayor Moody, as she has volunteered for many organizations like ushering in a theater in Chula Vista, cutting roses at Balboa Park. She also helped her sister with her non profit organization The National Hispanic Council on Aging.

“I have always enjoyed my life, I have always had a desire to study and keep going, I have never conformed,” she said. “I don’t know what I will do when I can’t move because I still have that enthusiasm.”
Although she was born in California, Sotomayor Moody was raised with her siblings in Mexico after her parents decided to move back because they were struggling to find work in the United States.

Her mother, a teacher, always encouraged her and her siblings to pursue higher education because she said that it was the way they would have a job.

Sotomayor Moody laughs and recalls that her mom would say it so often that she would have hear the phrase her mother used, “Without education you won’t have a job” in her dreams.

She became a teacher for several districts in San Diego like San Ysidro School District and Sweetwater School District.

And although she is now retired she has a new teaching role, she is helping raise awareness to the House of Mexico and educating those who have certain prejudices about mexican culture.

She said throughout her career and life she has fought against prejudice thinking and that it is important to keep fighting against prejudice for the future.

“It is necessary to keep moving forward, to open the path for young people, to the new people, that is what I have always thought,” Sotomayor Moody said. “I want to open the way for them.”

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