Mirtha Lugo, 53, was sworn in as a U.S. citizen Friday afternoon. Lugo, who immigrated to the U.S. from Paraguay, had been studying for years in between her work at two downtown hotels to pass the citizenship test.

Two nights before her October test, Lugo couldn’t sleep. “I was scared,” she told reporter Nancy Flores, when we first introduced the Lugo family to Austin.

"After years of not being able to afford the $800 American citizenship application, she had finally saved enough money to apply. Lugo imagined all the doors that could open for her family if she only passed," Flores wrote.

Because of being part of Season for Caring, the Statesman's annual charity program which benefits 12 featured families and helps hundreds of other families through local nonprofit organizations, Lugo has been taking financial planning classes and English as a second language classes and will take sewing and computer classes with Suzann Madeley, who volunteered after reading Lugo’s story. Season for Caring funds also have allowed Lugo to spend more time with her two daughters because of the additional rent assistance.

The 20th Season for Caring raised $1,033,589, the second time readers have donated more than $1 million to the program. Since 1999, more than $12.7 million has been given to local nonprofit organizations.

On Tuesday, the nonprofit organizations will receive the third and last grant check for the year.