When Edwin was asked to be interviewed and to share his story, a story of a young boy growing up in NYCHA housing, to a young mother of two who became a widow at the age 25 and a young boy who in turn became fatherless at 5 years old due to the abrupt death of his father, Edwin Sr. For this young boy, his primary years began in a place where life appears to be bleak and climbing out of the trenches of poverty is slim and few and far in between. You often wonder who will make it out of these concrete brick walled, gray dim lit stairwells with remnants of Dutch Master residue and corners filled with dried up urine. You would think some of those conditions are uninhabitable but for thousands of residents, this is a place called home.
When you’re a resident in NYCHA housing, most likely your imagination is wondrous and hopeful, you’re most likely a big dreamer, the way you dream is when you buy $10.00 worth of scratch off tickets and $20.00 in lottery only when its mega lottery though cuz its worth the 1 in 14 million chance. In that 1 minute, you dream, you dream big, you dream about what you would buy, how fast you would be out of the projects and how you aint tellin anyone where you are relocating to, not even your relatives! But dreams are special because for a moment, you can close your eyes and envision more for yourself, your family.
So, Nellie Roman, Edwin’s mother didn’t hit the lottery but she had a vision, a vision for her kids, she knew that education was important and the true way to make it out of poverty was through school. She knew that Edwin’s father wasn’t around but what she did in his absence was use the social security death benefits used to take care of her two children and used the whole check to put them into Catholic School. While there are great public schools in NYC, South Bronx’s public school was unable to offer her children the type of education she felt her children could thrive in. Nellie Roman, who dropped out of high school realized as an adult, the importance of education and would see it through that each of her children would have to graduate high school and further their education, there were no negotiations.
According to Edwin’s mother, there was never a fight for him to do his school work, he was a self-starter, a naturally driven individual who states that he didn’t always enjoy doing school work but knew he had to do it. The competitive drive in him wouldn’t allow him to settle for low grades, he pushed himself to his fullest potential and when he didn’t get the perfect 100, he was disappointed in himself. His mom says she always told him that as long as he tried his best, that is what counts. What counted to Edwin was challenging himself to the best of his abilities.
Edwin attended St. Anselms elementary and junior high school, followed by Cardinal Spelman Catholic High School in the Bronx. Upon graduating high school, he attended Stony Brook University, majoring in Psychology. For graduate school, he studied organizational psychology at Hofstra University.
His employment history starts with humble beginnings through the Summer Youth Employment Program, produce worker in a supermarket, Au Bon Pain eatery. His first professional job was at NYS courts as a special projects assistant, then he worked for a research company Roeper Starch where he was a research account executive. Currently, he is employed as a Senior Director for the consumer insights department for brand and media intelligence and has been with the company for 13 years.
Most of all, his favorite roles are being a husband and father to his daughter who he cherishes and adores.