My name is Madeline Cano [käno]; four letters, very hard, everyone says it wrong. I’m 27 and I’m not an Iowa native. I went to the University of Iowa for my undergraduate degree, but I’ve been in Des Moines at Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) for about four years now.
I grew up in Illinois, in Plano. When I was growing up it was a smaller town with a fairly large Mexican and Puerto Rican population because there was a large molding company in town. As the oldest of three, I had a good run of being the only child for a couple of years. My brother and sister will be 23 and 22. My parents are still together; they’ve been together since high school. Growing up I lived next door to my grandparents, my mother’s parents, but we were pretty disconnected with my dad’s side of the family until just recently.
Some time around college, I realized everything I had been doing was just trying to connect with my roots. I had a passion for learning languages, and in college I majored in International Business and Spanish at the University of Iowa.