NEWaukeean of the Week

Cristina Moreno-Ayala

"Moving to Milwaukee was a pretty easy transition for me..."

By - Jun 13th, 2016 02:14 pm
Cristina Moreno-Ayala. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Cristina Moreno-Ayala. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Where do you work and what makes your role awesomesauce?

I am the Bilingual Outreach Specialist at Penfield Children’s Center. Aside from working with a great team to share information about our programs and services at events like Summerfest and State Fair, we also provide parent and professional groups with free workshops through our Kohl’s Building Blocks program that help promote and support the development of children. It is my goal to not only promote awareness of early childhood development and early intervention services among Milwaukee’s Spanish speaking community, but also to help healthcare and education providers understand the importance of meeting their clients’ social, cultural, and linguistic needs, especially as it relates to the developmental screening process.

How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?

I have been in Milwaukee for almost four years now. I am originally from Northwest Indiana and moved here after graduating from Indiana University in Bloomington because this is where my husband grew up. I wasn’t thrilled to move here at first, but I love being a part of Milwaukee and my family is less than a two hour drive away so I can still go see them often.

What do you love most about Milwaukee?

I can say a lot of great things about Milwaukee, but what I appreciate the most is the sense of community. Moving to Milwaukee was a pretty easy transition for me, and I think much of that is owed to the fact that despite being a growing city, it is still very warm and welcoming because of the people here. I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of professionals who are very invested not only in their own work, but also in what they can do to benefit the greater community. In my experience, Milwaukee is large enough that I am able to meet new people through my position, but I am starting to see many of the same faces due to the level of collaboration and support among professionals who serve Milwaukee’s Hispanic community.

What is one word that you would use to describe Milwaukee?

I would say underrated, and I was guilty of this myself. Before moving here, I did not think much of Wisconsin other than it was all farms, which is funny coming from someone from Indiana. Unfortunately, I still think this is the case for a lot of people who haven’t spent time in the city. I feel like a salesman always talking about all of the great places in Milwaukee to persuade people to come visit.

What local restaurant is at the top of your list?

I love Oscar’s Bar and Grill on 16th and Pierce. It was our go to spot every Friday night for a long time; I once even went twice in the same day! Unfortunately, as delicious as burgers and beer are, I’ve had to cut down, but it is still my number one pick to kick back after a long week.

What does your ideal Milwaukee weekend look like?

An ideal Milwaukee weekend for me used to start with Friday dinner after work, at Oscar’s of course, followed by a show at Comedy Café. A long walk around town and a Brewer’s game or a movie at the Oriental on Saturday, and on Sunday we would hang out at Humboldt Park and watch the Southside recreational leagues play baseball or play for a bit ourselves. As a new mom, I foresee my ideal weekends will now most likely include sleeping in and stroller walks by the lake once the weather gets nicer.

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