I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. As a kid, I loved academics and learning a piece of new information was always exciting. Education wasn’t a big priority at home, so I learned to motivate myself.
"I’ve been coming to QCH's Kew Gardens Community Center for 15 years. I found out about it when a woman told me about a drama group, Belle’s Players, which meets once a week. I’ve been coming to the center to perform with the group ever since.
"I'm in second grade, I'm seven years old and I love to play soccer. It's a really big sport in Uzbekistan, and that's why I like it so much. I haven't been there yet, but I think my family is going to take me this summer. I like being Uzbek because it inspires me.
I was 19 when Hitler arrived in my hometown of Vienna. Harassment of Jews began immediately, so my parents and I made arrangements to emigrate to Palestine. It was easier for students to leave the country, so my parents sent me on ahead.
In 1946, my grandfather and his six brothers started an industrial landscaping company in Jamaica, Queens. In their first 20 years, the company expanded and became the first and largest black owned construction company in New York. Today, L.B.
I’m going to be an engineer when I grow up, so I practice building things everyday in my afterschool program. When my friends need something made out of paper, they come to me because I’m creative and so fast.
When I came to New York, I had $60 in my pocket and three suitcases to my name. I slept on the toilet at Port Authority with my feet up so no one would see me. After a few weeks, I found a job as a factory seamstress in Brooklyn.
I’ve been creating art ever since I was a child. I spent years under my mother’s piano sketching my father and reading music books. Growing up in my country, art wasn’t considered a necessity, so when it came time for college, my mother pushed me to become a doctor.
When I first started cutting hair, I was averaging about 80 customers a day from my house in Woodside. Back then I was a household name. Everyone was talking about the Filipino kid that opened up a shop at his mom’s basement.