Jeremy Friedman in CIANA's office. Photo: Maria Eliades
Astoria, NY -Jeremy Friedman first joined CIANA in 2016 and has been working here as a tutor ever since. He says that he was inspired to join because his wife had started tutoring at CIANA, but what really pushed him over was Donald Trump's election as president.
“I’ve been coming since a week after the results because he ran a very hateful, xenophobic campaign," Friedman says. "I wanted to do the opposite of what he ran on.”
Living in Astoria itself was a big part of that as well for Friedman. Joining CIANA meant being a good citizen of his neighborhood, one that has always had its roots in diversity.
Though Friedman came in for the politics, he’s remained committed to tutoring at CIANA because of the kids.
“The kids, the kids are great. They’re incredibly fun, they’re excited to be there, eager to learn, they’re funny and silly. And just generally, a joy to be around.”
That’s what continues to set CIANA apart from other places he says, that it is a community based organization. He hopes that he's able to contribute to the students he tutors by being a person in their lives who supports them in all that they do, and adds to the supportive environment at the organization.
What continues to set Astoria apart from the rest of New York and what makes CIANA special is the fact that the volunteers, staff, and clients all live in the same neighborhood. For Friedman, that’s where he understands that what he's doing has an impact.
“It's helped me feel more connected to my community,” he says, “My wife and I have seen the kids and their families out in Astoria multiple times, whether it's on a street corner or just going about our lives.”
Through all of this or perhaps because of his work, Jeremy is grateful for his community.
“I’m thankful that I live in a community that is so welcoming of so many different types of people," he says. "A community that is truly supportive of people from across the world, of different races, religions, creeds, and orientations. I’m very grateful for that and CIANA is a big part of that.”