Arlys Tineo is a newcomer to Brooklyn.
The 21-year-old, first-generation Dominican-American was born and raised in Nyack, New York. She moved to Brooklyn in 2017, living first in Bensonhurst for one year before relocating to Crown Heights.
The hustle and bustle of Central Brooklyn is far different from the suburban lifestyle of Rockland County, where her parents are small business owners and people generally know each other.
“What I love about Brooklyn is that living here gives me the opportunity to meet lots of people from different backgrounds. There are many places to explore and have different experiences – always something new to see and check out.”
Arlys moved to Brooklyn to attend Medgar Evers College. She successfully navigated the challenges of remote learning during the lockdown and graduated in the pandemic-interrupted spring semester with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Arlys moved on to graduate school in the fall of 2020 to earn a master’s in social work at New York University.
Prior to the pandemic, Arlys managed the day-to-day operation of Medgar Evers’ campus food pantry during the lockdown. She made every effort to ensure that her food insecure classmates had groceries in their cupboards.
Arlys worked during the pandemic as a volunteer with an agency that directed clients to city resources to help them manage their situation. She also used her social work training to help ease the pain and anguish of her classmates.
Many of them had loved ones who died. Her approach was to encourage them to express their feelings, which involved actively listening.
“I always made sure they know they are not going through this alone,” Arlys explained. “It brings comfort to know you’re not the only one.”
Arlys said she observed many acts of altruism during the quarantine.
“People have been more open to helping each other. Politicians and community organizations were handing out PPEs and food, mostly with volunteers,” she noted.
The response to the pandemic brought out the best qualities of human nature, which she hopes will continue.