Anthony Orozco | Company: Barrio Alegría
Tatiana Foronda | Company: Tower Health
Where do you live? Reading
Tell us a little how you are making Greater Reading a better place.
Anthony: I am helping create more beauty, light elegance and excellence for our Reading residents through Barrio Alegría. The name of our community engagement nonprofit translates literally to “Neighborhood of Happiness,” and we believe that joy, fulfillment and chasing
your dreams can be revolutionary acts. We empower our local artists to share their skills with the public and invite neighbors to explore their own talents through the universal language of art. I believe that everyone has a gift and it is their duty to share it with others.
What do you want outsiders to know about the Greater Reading community?
Anthony: So many people have come to this place—immigrants, transplants, students—and have truly found their home here. There is so much potential in this area for entrepreneurs, artists, journalists and other people who want to make a positive impact. It also is surprisingly not a bad location for rock climbing and bouldering.
Name an organization that you think is doing amazing work in Greater Reading that you want others to know about.
Anthony: The South of Penn SOP Initiative is doing some fantastic work in Reading’s southside by helping neighbors create a community they want to see. The SOP is helping amplify the stories and aspirations of longtime residents and newcomers alike. They are not only listening to neighbors’ concerns, but they are also getting to know them, and they are taking direct action in making dreams come true. They do clean-ups, block parties, movie nights, community conversations and more. I wish more organizations were like them!
What are your favorite local activities to do with your family?
Tatiana: My family shows their love through cooking delicious food for each other, and this translates into our favorite activity to do together—going out to eat. Whenever there is a new local restaurant opening, I make sure to invite my loved ones to come out to try it with me. To us, there is nothing better than sharing a meal while catching up on our busy lives. Living in Reading provides a never ending list of new places and cuisines to explore together.
What about Greater Reading makes it great to raise your family?
Tatiana: Making the conscious choice with my partner to not have children, we view the connections we’ve made within our community as an extension of our family of three. Our cat is family. Cultivating and raising a family within our community here is great because Greater Reading is full of diverse cultures and perspectives. Being a part of Greater Reading’s wealth of diversity helps us grow as people and understand others.
Name your favorite Greater Reading hidden gem.
Tatiana: Since my favorite local activity is exploring different places to eat, it makes sense that my favorite hidden gem is a Colombian restaurant that opened during COVID-19 and was able to thrive past the pandemic. Cafe de Colombia, on Penn Street, is my favorite place to drink delicious coffee, have fresh baked goods like my favorite pandebono, and have a little taste of my family’s native country. I recommend it to anyone visiting Reading, and each time my friends rave about how much they loved the experience.