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What is your story? How did you end up in Milwaukee? Ximena Restrepo

It’s a long story. Short version: born in Colombia, spent few summers in the States while growing up, and I always identified myself with the American culture. I moved to the States after I graduated from high school to learn the language, went to college, got married then divorced, lived in several places (Orlando, Miami, Cleveland, West Paterson, NJ, Madison and Milwaukee), had some financial struggles due to the constant moving and work changes, was homeless for a week, slept in my car a couple of nights - and that’s my story. One of my sisters lives in Milwaukee. I visited a few times and I fell in love with the city and the people in the Midwest, because it is where the nicest people in the US live and they understand what summer is all about!

What keeps you in Milwaukee/What do you like best about Milwaukee?

The people – same as above.

Favorite spot in the city?

It’s hard to have one favorite spot….there are sooo many: the lakefront, Milwaukee Art Museum, The Pfister, the Oriental Theater, Miller Park and Brewery, the Historic Third Ward, and the Village of Wauwatosa.

Milwaukee festival you are eager to attend each year?

Bastille Days and Oktoberfest.

What drew you to Echelon?

My involvement in the community through various groups and networking.

Share with us a memorable experience you have had thus far with the organization.

Every time spent with the group/The Salvation Army is memorable!

What struggles do you see our city dealing with? What can our generation do to help?

We can motivate and get other young professionals involved, learn about programs and activities the community offers, and ultimately make a difference and improve quality of life! Being involved in the community is an eye-opening experience; you meet leaders, understand the community settings and certain behaviors, connect and reflect, grow not only professionally but personally, and realize that the time you invest and spend in it is meaningful to you and people around you.