Photo: Jan Bruder
Aneudy is the youngest of five children, and is from Providence. His parents came here from the Dominican Republic in 1976. They saved money for nearly a decade, and then brought their own parents to Providence in the 1980s.
“My father started out by taking an English course at CCRI. His teacher in that class ended up being my guidance counselor at Classical High School. Growing up, Spanish was my first language – I learned English when I aged two or three. I couldn’t figure out the word ‘spoon’. I didn’t like the word, I didn’t know why it was called that. The sound ‘spoo’ was all new to me.”
When asked, in Spanish, about how he sees himself, Aneudy has a simple answer.
“Soy dominicano. Vivo en esa comunidad, me creí allí. Solo fue en la escuela secondaria que tenía amigos que no fueron hispanos.”
(I’m Dominican. I live in that community, I grew up there. It was only in secondary school that I had friends who weren’t Hispanic.)
Aneudy is now a senior core leader in recruitment for City Year, whose Providence branch is based on the second floor of 217 Westminster Street.
City Year is an Americorps project that offers a 10-month community service role to people aged 17-24, mentoring school children, organizing after-school programs, and taking part in community rehabilitation.
“La mayoría de los jovenes que nosotros trabajamos son hispanos. Me cae bien, a mí me gusta. Soy el único en mi equipo que habla español.”
(The majority of the young people that we work with are Hispanic. I like it. I’m the only one in my team who speaks Spanish.)
“First, I speak in English in a school, but if I see someone’s having a hard time, or they’re saying things in Spanish that they don’t want others to understand, then I bust it out. After that, the dynamic changes. They respect you more, and they see you as someone who is part of their community, a role model. It’s also easier on the discipline side, because you know what they’re saying.”
All through high school, Aneudy went to New Urban Arts, a local organization that encourages and mentors young artists. During his studies at CCRI, he became part of the New Urban Arts recruitment team, and then joined City Year earlier this year. He hasn’t decided yet what he wants to do next year, but it will probably be something within the local non-profit sector.
“It’s very important to engage the public, and to do things. Think about the word ‘community’. Most people, you go to work, you come home, and you don’t really have much time to interact with other people. But when you’re doing things actively in your community, you start to feel like you’re taking part in something much bigger than yourself. It’s really good.”