Every year on Hispanic Heritage month, we all get the opportunity to celebrate the culture, history, and contributions of Hispanic/Latino’s and where their families came from. From September 15th to October 15th, comes a month filled with celebration and joy for the Hispanic culture.

Here at CentroNía, we take pride in our multicultural environment and the many different Hispanic cultures represented through not just our families but our staff as well. For this year’s Hispanic Heritage month, we would like to spotlight key members of the CentroNía family. Meet Alfredo, CentroNía Columbia Road’s receptionist and assistant to our CDA Training program.

CentroNía: What drew you to CentroNía?

Alfredo: CentroNía’s work with and for children was what most attracted me to the organization. Although I didn’t work directly with children and families in the beginning, ultimately the work of each one of us at CentroNía centers on the wellbeing and development of our boys and girls.

CentroNía: How do your values align with the organization’s mission to “educate children and youth and strengthen families in a bilingual, multicultural community”?

Alfredo: They align in that I come from a Latino and multicultural family where values such as respect, camaraderie, and love for others were and are the fundamental base for both personal and family growth. In my work at CentroNía, I put my values into practice every day by providing respectful, friendly and professional service, and through supportive collaboration each day.

CentroNía: Tell us about your career path. How’d you end up in your current role?

Alfredo: I have a degree in Marketing with a postgraduate degree in Management and Business Development. In 2013, I got my first job in my area of studies, honing my skills while working with portfolios at Banco LAFISE in Nicaragua. Following this, I worked as a store coordinator and advertising assistant for Movistar, a telephone service company.

Upon returning to the United States the following year, I took on customer service roles in popular retail stores. Years later, I was a Quality Control Manager for Fisher Price until a year and a half ago when I was let go due to the pandemic. This is how I came to CentroNía, helping with kitchen duties during the summer camp for a month and a half. At the end of that contract, I was given the opportunity to apply for the receptionist position I currently hold. I am also providing support as an assistant for CentroNía’s CDA Training Program.

CentroNía: What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? How do you celebrate your heritage?

Alfredo: Hispanic Heritage Month commemorates the independence of Central America, it’s a national celebration that honors the history, culture, and influence of past generations. It’s an inheritance of a set of culture and traditions that our ancestors have gifted to us. In my family, we celebrate by cooking traditional foods, donning clothing that reflects our cultural background, hoisting the flag of our country of origin in front of our house and attending the month’s parades.

CentroNía: What is your favorite family tradition?

Alfredo: Without a doubt, it is the festivities surrounding the Christmas holiday. My family is very religious, very united and that is a very special time for us because it brings the whole family together, including relatives who don’t see each other often but whose love is always palpable when we meet.

CentroNía: What advice do you have for those interested in helping their community?

Alfredo: My greatest advice is that in everything you do, do it from the heart, with a lot of love, and above all, without expecting anything in return. When we do things with love this is reflected in the results. My maternal grandmother often says: “Haz el bien sin mirar a quien,” a saying that means that good acts should be done without self-interest.

CentroNía: How do think we can best help support Hispanic families in the DC/Maryland area?

Alfredo: We can support Latino families by supporting community activities for Latinos, offering professional development programs like CentroNía’s CDA Training Program, hosting food fairs and motivational talks, donating basic grains and clothing in good condition, and above all, by advising Latinos and offering opportunities for personal and professional development that promote the wellbeing of Latino families in the Unites States.

Thank you, Alfredo, for sharing what Hispanic Heritage means to you!