“I love it. It’s great, because I get to meet a lot of people
from different countries and I get to help the Hispanic
community,” she said. “That makes it very interesting at times.”
Ms. Jiménez is the first person people encounter when they reach
the 22nd floor of One Government Center with business
at the mayor’s office. She doubles as a receptionist and
legislative researcher, as well as other assigned duties. To
some degree, the former model is the public face of the mayor’s
“Yes, I am. I just like to help people, make sure they get the
help that they need—so it’s good,” said Ms. Jiménez, who readily
admits she is shy by nature. “So far, we’ve haven’t had too many
problems, because I think people are trying to get to know us
(the Collins administration) a little bit better. They want to
meet to see what we can do for them.”
Ms. Jiménez graduated from
la Presentacion, a Catholic high school in
Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia, before coming to the U.S.
about five years ago to further her education.
Her older sister came to Toledo about a decade ago to study at
the American Language Institute (ALI), which is housed at UT.
English language classes to students from all over the world, as
well as local residents and businesses. UT’s version was founded
“She really liked the program and she really liked the people
she interacted with,” said Ms. Jiménez.
That drew Silva to join her older sister in Toledo. “I went to
ALI for six months because I didn’t know any English.”
She first became involved with the local Latino community
through the International Student Association while attending
community college, then joined the Latino Student Union (LSU)
while at UT. She officially became a U.S. citizen in January.
Ms. Jiménez worked for COMPASS for six months immediately
following graduation as a counselor assistant,
leading support group sessions for alcohol and drug addiction
She also was responsible for assessment, individualized
treatment planning, and discharge of
patients. Along with her psychology degree, she earned a minor
in counseling at UT, where she made Dean’s list.
“I enjoyed it. It was different. I became more open-minded, not
to judge people, because we really don’t know until we see what
they’ve been through and why they do the stuff that they do,”
she said. “I miss it sometimes.”
As a teen, Ms. Jiménez modeled a youth clothing line in her
native Colombia. While attending UT, she worked for DSW:
Designer Shoe Warehouse at the Franklin Park Mall, admitting
that shoe shopping is one of her “weaknesses.”
“I liked it. I liked being around people every single day. I
like customer service,” she said. “I enjoy it.”
In a roundabout way, she believes working at DSW and COMPASS
have prepared her well for her present role in the mayor’s
“It’s helped me to be more open to people,” said Ms.
Jiménez. “It’s hard sometimes not to judge
what people want. It’s helped me to be more willing to listen.”
Ms. Jiménez has big aspirations. First, she hopes to make a
long-term career within city government. To that end, she
intends to return to school to work on her Master’s degree,
possibly in social work. Her sister currently is working on a
graduate degree at the University of Findlay.
“I want to help the Hispanic community to get more involved,
because I feel that we are lacking. We don’t really know the
resources that we have out there,” said the 24-year old. “I like
the language and I want to help them to get involved in Toledo.
That’s what I want to be doing in the mayor’s office.”
To that end, Ms. Jiménez wants local Latino individuals and
families to know they can contact her directly at the mayor’s
office so she can connect them to services and programs or
personally troubleshoot any situations that arise.