About Victor Leandry
Victor Leandry was born to Puerto Rican parents in Atlanta, Georgia at Fort Gordon. When he was five, his family moved to Puerto Rico where he was raised by his single mother in a low income neighborhood. While moving from a high-class neghborhood to an impoverished one presented difficulties and cultural change, it was also the place where Leandry gained his love for social work. From a young age he planned events throughout his neighborhood to keep teens like him occupied, from Mother's Day celebrations to volleyball tournaments, Leandry did it all. Through this and through the mentorship of a social worker he met as a teen, Leandry discovered that he had the skills and passion needed to pursue a career as a social worker and he graduated with his social work degree from Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.
His passion for his work and his community has now led him to his life in Lorian, Ohio as Executive Director at El Centro de Servicios Sociales. He first moved to Lorain in 1991 with $260 to his name and a suitcase full of clothes. He brought nothing else along with him, not even family photos or mementos because he knew that if he brought items that would tie him back to Puerto Rico he would be tempted to return whenever it got tough, and it did get tough. Leandry struggled to adjust to the language, the loss of family and community, the cold, and the lack of suitable jobs, but he overcame in spite of all the obstacles he faced. He entered El Centro as Executive Director and had to deal with a lack of resources, funding and more, but with the help of a few hardworking team members, El Centro has grown to be a loved centerpiece of the Lorain community. Lorain and El Centro are now Leandry's home, and as much as Lorain has given him, he too has given back.
You can find Victor Leandry's oral history interview here to learn more about his early life in Puerto Rico and the journey he took to build up El Centro and give back to his community. Also browse through this photo gallery to get visual representations of Leandry's life.