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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.

Answers 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

Answers Check your answers.

Listen and repeat the words.

Before you 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 possible

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.

Answers Check your answers.

Listen again and complete the transcription. You may need to write more than one word in each space.
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 them 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 activity.

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 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 we made food for the day labourers, and they helped me give out the 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 , 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 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 ups and downs, substance 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 Unidos.

HELP: *gotta = have got to

* This text has been adapted from Voice of America:

Answers Check with the complete transcription.


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