Originally from the Dominican Republic, Julio S. is a young man who has been chasing a dream of a better future his entire life.
Julio lived most of his young life in Santo Domingo with his mother after his father legally immigrated to New York to join family who began the dream of a life in the United States almost thirty years ago. “It was lonely,” Julio said, but my father “always took care of us, though -- called us, sent us money -- so I could study.” While in Dominican Republic, Julio attended a technical high school and studied computer programming, networking and learned to build databases using Microsoft Access.
After enduring the loss of his older brother in an accident and watching his mother battle cancer, Julio and his mother were finally able to join the rest of the family in El Barrio in 2009. Eventually the family settled into an apartment in East Harlem and Julio began attending the Boys & Girls Club at the Children’s Aid Society/Taft Learning Center.
When Julio first joined the Club, he barely spoke English, but his warm personality drew the other teens to him. Despite the language barrier, he became a leader in the Club Tech program. Julio has been involved with computers ever since he “has memory,” he says. But thanks to Club Tech he is gaining new skills, perfecting his English and having the opportunity to share his technology skills with other teens. The Club has also introduced Julio to a welcoming community where he is able to meet a diverse group of teens his age and develop relationships, as well as learn new tech skills and have access to a computer lab.
Julio is currently finishing an ESL prep course at Bronx Community College before he begins his degree in Computer Science. For his future, he wants to become a software engineer and do his masters at M.I.T. because “It’s one of the 10 best schools in the world for technology. I did the research.” Julio’s drive and dedication is obvious to everyone who meets him and he is a role model for his peers at the Club.
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