Where are you from?

I am from the Dominican Republic.

What was your childhood like?

My childhood was pretty average highlighted by a series of moves from the Dominican Republic to New York City followed by a move to Cleveland.

What brought you to Cleveland?

My parents decided that Cleveland would be a better place to raise a family, being that New York was too fast paced and dangerous for small children.

What were your first thoughts about coming to the United States? Did those change?

I was super excited! I was only six at the time but I remember how thrilled I was to be coming to the states. My thoughts haven’t changed; I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been granted just because I live here.

What challenges did you face as transitioning here?

One of the major challenges that I faced was the language barrier, for I did not speak English as a child. The weather was also challenging, migrating from a tropical country in the middle of winter was a culture shock as a kid.

What is your occupation?

I am Project Manager for the President’s Office at Cuyahoga Community College

How have other Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?

I call Cleveland home, I’ve lived here the vast majority of my life and a Clevelander is a warm person with an inviting smile that on most days will say hi to a stranger.

What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?

We still speak Spanish at home, we celebrate Three Kings Day and we eat rice for dinner on most days.

What do you love about Cleveland?

I love the people and the small town atmosphere in a bigger city and of course the Cavs!

Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

This country has so many resources and opportunities that otherwise others would not have access to. It is important for people from other places to be welcomed here because it will make a huge difference in their lives.

Why is it important to travel abroad?

Is important to be culturally diverse. Learning to appreciate differences through exploring other culture makes us better people.