Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, Founder and Executive Director of Latino U College Access, is People & Stories' first multi-lingual oral history! Below are interviews conducted by Ben Himmelfarb and Mariel Perez–one in English, one in Spanish.
In both interviews, Buontempo discusses emigrating from Puerto Rico to the Bronx at age ten. Education and service have always been important to Buontempo, and when she attended Pace University she was introduced to White Plains (through trips to the Galleria!). She had a career in advertising focused on reaching Latino people, and developed an interest in connecting Latino youth with higher education through her graduate studies at Pace University. This led her to found Latino U College Access, which reaches thousands of students and parents eager to receive much needed information and guidance. Their bilingual, culturally-relevant programs focus on increasing Latino youth’s access to college resources and guiding them through the process from their senior year of high school until college graduation. Latino U's office are located in White Plains, and they offer programs throughout the city and county.
Buontempo believes the ability to speak a language other than English should be treated as an asset. She embodies this idea, and emphasized that the marked increase in the number of White Plains students for whom Spanish is a first language should be embraced so that Latino youth are empowered to benefit from the opportunities of the American educational system. Buontempo is a dynamic local entrepreneur whose personal story is as engaging as her professional work, and her oral histories are well worth your time and attention.
Buontempo's English Oral History:
Buontempo's Spanish Oral History:
Any Spanish-speakers interested in sharing their voices and stories with the community through People & Stories are encouraged to contact me at the White Plains Public Library by phone or email. We want to grow our local history collection and make sure it reflects all people who live in White Plains.