This week’s Face of the Northeast is Diego Barrios, Youth Development Coordinator at the Mattie Rhodes Center. Originally from Venezuela, Barrios moved to the Northeast in 2016 and began working as a coach mentor for the Soccer for Success Program at Mattie Rhodes.
He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Zulia. His mother, father, and sisters are back home in Venezuela, but Barrios has uncles and cousins in the Northeast community.
“The Northeast is a special neighborhood for me because I have family living here and most of the population is Hispanic. When I first got to this neighborhood and started working here, they took me in like I was just another person from the neighborhood, even though I had just moved to the city.”
Barrios said one the unique characteristics he loves about the community is the diversity.
“There are so many different cultures. The Hispanic culture is just so broad because we have so many different countries that are part of the Hispanic culture. Not only Mexican, which are probably the biggest, but Central America, a lot of people from South America, and the Caribbean, like Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. Also, we have almost the same mixture of the African culture. We have people from almost every single country in Africa, like Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, and we work with all these kids and families. It just amazes me that we can all be part of the same neighborhood and be part of the same program with no differences.”
Barrios said he hopes to be in the Northeast for a little longer and continue to work with families and kids in the community.
“The Northeast is always going to have a special space in my heart because it was the first neighborhood that I worked with. Everything I do in my work is to get more opportunities for the families and kids in the Northeast. Thank you to the neighborhood because they took me in like I was part of it from the beginning.”