Why Italian Day?

The idea for this wonderful Centers for Hearing Care event came from several of our patients of Italian Heritage. In 2005, Sheryl and Fortunato Figliano were married in Tropea, VV Italy (Calabria) and since then, have enjoyed their annual return to vacation with relatives. Upon returning home each year, they are filled with excitement in sharing their experiences and their love of Italy. This stirred an interest from many Centers for Hearing Care patients and the idea came about to hold an “Italian Day” event for our Italian speaking patients.

The initial gathering was a small group of fourteen who shared their intimate stories of immigration as well as the struggles and triumphs that came with adapting to a new life in the United States many years ago. In addition to the abundance of food, a short documentary about Italian-Americans was projected onto the wall in the lobby of our Boardman office. Next, everyone formed a circle as each attendee introduced themselves and shared the part of Italy each had originated. Afterward, each person had the opportunity to tell their personal immigration story. It was during this time that the room came to life as we all stepped back in time. Once everyone had a chance to talk about their lives and their journey to the States, there was not a dry eye in the room. This is what truly fueled the spirit of “Italian Day” and the reason we continue to share it with our friends.

In our first festa, a story was told by a man who spoke of his experience as a teenager, travelling alone from Italy to New York City in anticipation of finding work and reuniting with his father, who had immigrated years earlier. When he arrived on New York’s Ellis Island, he did not know the value of the American Dollar. In an attempt to purchase food before continuing his journey to Youngstown, he realized too late that he had been cheated out of a sizable amount of money and that he no longer had enough money to travel. He found himself in a huge metropolis that he never imagined could ever exist in only knowing the small town from which he came. He was broke, afraid, and embarrassed. He was able to seek aid from fellow Italian-Americans who were able to contact his father. It was at this point in this man’s story that he became emotional in telling the group what happened next. His father had traveled by train from Ohio to New York City to meet him and take him to their new home. Now, as an elderly man sharing his story, he was still very much humbled by the love his father showed him that day. He went on to say that he worked as hard as he could all of his life so as to not let down his father. He was proud that he never experienced another day without money because of his diligence in working hard and being smart to save.
There are many stories told each year since first hosting “Italian Day” that it would take a countless number of blogs to share them all! It is a wonderful experience for all who attend. This year, the event was held at Caffe Capri Restaurant and we had approximately thirty guests. Like in past years, we shared good food and touching stories all tied to a common past. We also managed to collect funds for the Hearing Missions Foundation after this group heard of our efforts to support local and international missions.

The love for Italy and the Italian culture still brings this group together and we found that beyond this love, we also share a love and passion for the USA. There is a deep gratitude to the United States of America for the opportunities we have to work and build a great quality of life for our families. This year, one of our Italian American attendees addressed the group with how important it is to buy products made in America, stating that “…this is who we are and we should take care of our own first.” God Bless America!!!

Grazie a tutti voi che avete partecipato nella nostra festa italiana. Veramente un onore conoscervi e speriamo di rivedervi presto. Per i nostri amici italiani che non potevano venire, ci vediamo alla prossima! per informazione manda un messaggio via email cfhc@centersforhearingcare.com Ciao, i vostri amici di Centers for Hearing Care.

Your friends at Centers for Hearing Care