Before you listen to a report about Latin American immigrants in the US, read
the following questions.
1) How old is Jose Vanegas?
2) Day labourers
a) accept any job on a day to day basis
b) have full-time jobs that are low-paid
c) are immigrants with experience in construction
3) Which country is Jose and his family originally from?
Listen and repeat.
Check your answers.
Mark the verbs below with their Spanish equivalents.
1. to steer away
2. to bond
3. to gather
4. to haul
5. to struggle
6. to encourage
7. to lack
8. to rake
9. to dig
10. to entice
11. to instil
Check your answers.
Listen and repeat the words.
listen again, read the following questions.
1. When Jose Vanegas isn’t working
with Barrios Unidos, he
a) is a day labourer
b) works as a TV producer
c) sells drugs
2. The Barrios Unidos children’s program is
a) aimed at kids who belong to street gangs
b) aimed at kids who can dance
c) aimed at kids from around 8 to 18 years old
3. One thing that Jose Venegas asked the kids to do was
a) take the day labourers out to dinner once a month
b) chat to the day labourers while they were giving them food
c) find out as much personal information about the day labourers as
4. The immigrant day labourers
a) are often qualified construction workers and painters
b) do the jobs that North Americans don’t want to do
c) have steady full-time jobs with American employers
5. Jose Vanegas
a) was born in the USA
b) comes from a good family background
c) was in a documentary about drug abuse
6. One of Jose Vanegas’ beliefs is
a) in the fusion of Hispanic and American culture
b) capturing cultural harmony in photographs
c) in the active role of religion in the community
Now listen and answer the questions.
Check your answers.
and complete the transcription. You may need to write more than one word in each
Use the pause button on your media player to give you time to write.
Immigrants in the greater Washington
area who are to adjust to
their adopted country are finding a variety of institutions and
individuals eager to reach out to them. We’ll introduce you to Jose
Vanegas, an independent TV producer, who is the executive director
of an organization that works with Latino youth to help
from violence and gangs.
Barrios Unidos, or United Neighbourhoods, of Northern Virginia is
part of a country-wide network that reaches out to young people,
particularly the children of immigrants from Latin America, and
tries to provide positive alternatives to violent or
Right now I'm working with at-risk youth.. er.. Barrios Unidos,
and we have a variety of services for kids from eight to twelve to
teens in high school who might ha..might have the possibility of
getting into trouble, gangs, .. er.. problems at home, things like
that, we have ,
, and other alternative
programs for them.
Forty-year-old Jose Vanegas says his organization tries to give
young people a positive view of themselves, and an alternative to
gangs and the street as a source of status, respect and a sense of
accomplishment. It provides courses, mentors, and role models to
young people to achieve
their full potential, and it stages fun events like dances and
cultural festivals. The young people are expected to participate in
the committees planning and organizing all these activities. Barrios
Unidos hopes this will lead to
, and develop self-respect
and a sense of community.
I've been able to establish a leadership group of.. er. Latino
high school students. They have a lot of issues..er..they have a lot
of issues at home, at school, but I notice that they are lacking..
er.. not only guidance but also the..the
in their community. So I
was able to tell them that..y’know.. I would like to do activities
with them, once a month, one social and one community service. And
the first thing that we did was ..er.. we made food for the day
labourers, and they helped me give out the food..er..for the day
labourers. And I them, when
you give out the food I want you to talk to one person and find out
where they’re coming from, what's going on with them, why they're
here. And they did, and they found it very
Northern Virginia is home to many immigrants from Latin America who
have no full-time jobs, but
each morning on busy street corners or in vacant lots, waiting for
employers to pick them up for whatever work they have for them that
day. These day labourers take jobs that American workers often
disdain: they lay brick and tile, they paint, they
, they clean, they cut down
trees and leaves, they
build, they demolish; whatever comes their way. Jose Vanegas's
involvement in the Hispanic community actually began with an
interest in the problems of day labourers.
I started working with the Hispanic community of Virginia, and
part of my work was..er.. working with the day labourers. Y’know, I
saw their needs, that they don't really have…erm.. too many people
they can or talk to, … erm…
they're very marginalized, so when…when I started talking to them
they saw me as their friend, so that kind of enticed me to start to
work with them as much as possible.
Jose Vanegas immigrated to the United States from Colombia with his
parents when he was 10 years old. He says he grew up in a relatively
. His father had a catering
business, his mother, a nurse in Colombia, became an accountant in
America. He studied radio and TV production in college, and now
free-lances, producing everything from documentaries to wedding
films to commercials for local businesses. But he admits he once
lived a much like that of
the troubled young people he's now trying to help.
I had my trials and tribulations, you know, I had my..my ups and
downs, substance abuse..er.. here and there, treatment,.. er..
knowing what it’s like to be, y’know, treated for something that is
an but people look at it as
something criminal. Erm… so I had some experiences that have shown
me what it's like, erm… so based on those experiences I have learned
how to deal with people who have those same issues.
Most of Jose Vanegas's professional activity, like his community
service, is bilingual, and based in the Latino community. Tied as he
is to his Hispanic roots, Mr. Vanegas tries to
in the young people with
whom he works a similar respect for their cultural heritage.
I tell people that you gotta*, you gotta always
, and take the best of.. of..
of.. everything, you know. Latino culture is unique. You take the
best of both worlds, put them together, and it's.. it’s.. it’s like
dynamite. So.. yeah.. that's what I tell people. Everybody, every
culture, every race, everybody has something to contribute.
Jose Vanegas believes he practices what he preaches, and that in his
own life he brings together the Hispanic and the American worlds.
And he considers himself to
be able to do something positive for both Latinos and the broader
community through his work with United Neighbourhoods - Barrios
HELP: *gotta = have got to
* This text has been adapted from Voice of America: