Maria Nguyen, a member of the Daughters of Charity Province of the West, came to Ogden from California two years ago with little else than a vision of doing something here to serve immigrants.

“When she talked about her dream in 2009, it seemed like an insurmountable task,” said Marcie Valdez, director of Catholic Services of Northern Utah. “I feel like it’s with the graces of God and the determination of Sister Maria that we are here today.”

The ceremony marked the one-year anniversary of the effort started by Nguyen to give a hand-up to women with low incomes. The course is designed to show participants how they can take a skill and start their own business.

In an interview, student Stephanie Wade talked about how the basis for her former industrial cleaning business literally moved away with the downed economy. She said now her knowledge is helping her start a business with a fellow student.

“Sister Maria was telling us we needed a business plan,” Wade said. “She wants us to do some samples. … She was telling me I could get a grant.”

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