AUSTIN, Texas -- The Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Austin celebrated its 22nd birthday Sunday with an afternoon of performances.
- Austin's Puerto Rican Cultural Center celebrated 22nd birthday Sunday
- Center a home away from home for many Austinites
- Celebration raised money for victims of Hurricane Dorian
In addition to raising money for the center, the event was also a fundraiser for the Bahamas recovery effort. But the celebration was a particularly special occasion for one multi-generational Puerto Rican family.
“It means having that little thing that you leave behind when you leave your country. That’s what it means to me," said Yolanda Maisonet Menendez.
Menendez left her home of Puerto Rico in 1980, but for the past 13 years the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Austin has given her a taste of the island she left behind.
“It’s my culture, who I am, what made me me, what made me Puerto Rican," said Menendez. "And I wanted to instill that in my daughter and my granddaughter.”
Yolanda’s daughter is a dance teacher at the Cultural Center. And Sunday, she got to watch her mother sing and her daughter dance at the center’s 22nd birthday celebration.
“And now this year my granddaughter said, ‘Oh I want to be part of the cultural center.’ Well, that means the world to me," said Menendez.
“My daughter has to practice and so of course my mom gets to show her, ‘Okay try this move, put your hand this way.’ And it’s very touching to look and I see them bonding," said Yolanda's daughter, Luisandra Miranda-Maisonet.
“It’s like my second home," said Yolanda's granddaughter Athena Hart. "I feel like it’s really important to support your heritage and where you came from. So, and my grandmother used to dance here as well!"
Three generations of Puerto Rican women, bringing a bit of the island culture back to Austin.
“And it’s still home outside home. It’s still the island outside the island," said Menendez. "And I am very proud she embrace the culture, my daughter, and is going to continue and continue and continue even after I pass.”