‘The arts saved my life.’
“I was born in the Dominican Republic and came to America with my parents when I was 13 years old. I initially thought I was on vacation, so it was a shock when I learned that we were all staying! In my hometown, a simple greeting is part of our values, even between strangers, so it was a culture shock to realize that it wasn’t the norm here.
“I attended Brentwood High School, learned English, and became the family translator. I ultimately became the first person in my family to attend college. While I was at Stony Brook University, I overheard a professor analyzing literature in Spanish. I was so intrigued that I signed up for her class and changed my major to Spanish language and literature. Simultaneously, I got a teaching certificate and eventually earned a graduate degree. This was a very rewarding experience for me since I inspired younger relatives to attain a higher education, too. I also use my own experiences to inspire my students, many of whom are immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries who face many challenges adjusting to American life and the English language.
I am the founder of Cuentos de Triadas, which is an organization that focuses on creating culturally enriching experiences for Long Island communities.
“In 2007, I went through a very severe depression. While I enjoyed crafting stories and poems since the age of 8, literature and writing helped me find my purpose during those hard times. The arts saved my life. After I recovered, I started delving into poetry readings and art shows and organizing cultural events. I am the founder of Cuentos de Triadas, which is an organization that focuses on creating culturally enriching experiences for Long Island communities.
“So far, the highlight of my career was meeting artist Francisco Poblet, who was the last apprentice of Salvador Dali. He came to the official Westbury Arts gallery opening in 2021, which turned out to be his final public event before he passed away. In the future, I will continue writing and sharing stories that benefit underrepresented youth. I am currently working on my first English-language poetry book. I also plan to continue bringing cultural programs into schools to celebrate our diverse heritage and culture.”
Interviewed by Meagan Meehan