I remember the first time I met Amalfi. It was a Saturday morning at Mike Wood’s opportunity class; Amalfi poured me a cup of coffee, pulled out a chair for me, and took a minute to introduce himself. He was there to learn with everyone else, but it was his enthusiasm and participation in the class that made him memorable.
Amalfi is compassionate, determined, and creative, and it shows in how he carries himself. Originally born in Cuba, he came to America in a raft with his brother and father when he was 23 years old. He left his family, friends, and his nursing job in Cuba, and landed in Guantanamo Bay after a large missile carrier picked them up in the waters. Since arriving in the States, Amalfi has moved to Chapel Hill where he is working towards becoming a nurse – his passion.
Amalfi first heard about CEF while staying at the shelter, and got involved right away with opportunity classes, CEF events, and our Safe Savings program.
He’s especially known around our office for making a paper mache sculpture for a CEF Art Walk event – an art piece that stood out because it was a melding of a woman’s body, a dinosaur limb, and an apple. In all the chaos and crises that often lead people to come into our office, Amalfi has shown me what being a member of the CEF family can look like in spite of the other commotion.
A couple of days ago, Amalfi came into the office and I asked him a few questions to pick his brain:
What was your first impression of CEF?
I saw that it was a community that wanted to help people out. I owe them a lot.
How was opportunity class? What did you get from it?
It was a really good experience, I learned a lot there. I learned how to correct my resume, handle my money, and how to take opportunities in life. I learned a lot from my classmates and the different cultures.
What kind of relationships have you built with CEF?
I’ve built close and compact relationships. More than a relationship, I feel like a family member.
In what ways have you been able to give back to CEF or the CEF community?
I would like to give back more than I have received, so that way I can help with financial things or any type of work. On Saturdays when I have to work, I come before class to set up the tables and make coffee. Humanity is part of my personality, I like to set things up for others as a service.
Do you have any advice to future our current members?
I want to offer encouragement. Just follow what CEF has arranged to help you out. Don’t just take the food stamps and materials and leave, get into opportunity classes and get more involved with CEF.