Ricardo Almodovar has a passion for helping volunteers become effective. He truly enjoys guiding leaders through the learning process, and helping groups create a mechanism to advocate on their own behalf.
Almodovar, 29, is a community organizer for CASA PA in Lancaster, an organization that promotes civic engagement among the region’s growing and diverse Latino and immigrant populations.
His community organizing strategies include encouraging community members to do their part by taking responsibility and action for their community, holding corporate or government decision makers accountable for their actions and designing programs for others to implement that meet the needs of the community.
“What motivates me is the need to organize now,” says Almodovar. “There are many people who don’t know where they will lie down to sleep at night or where they’ll get their next meal.”
He is also the neighborhood enhancement projects coordinator at the Lancaster City Alliance, where he works with the Façade Improvement Program, the Adopt-A-Tree program and in various initiatives that focus on historically under-served areas.
“The work we do now is critical to the future of our people and even our planet,” he says.
Education: Associates degree in social science from HACC, and bachelor’s degree in international studies and Spanish language from Millersville University.
Residence: Lancaster city
What I enjoy the most about my work: Knowing that I have the power to impact the lives of people in my hometown and beyond. Extending an invitation to join the movement for our collective liberation creates change. I think people can and should be able to live and be their authentic selves regardless of age, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status.
The hardest thing about being a community organizer: Saying no: It is extremely difficult to find the time to devote for so many causes, organizations, and people. Our world is so complex and although I feel the need to fix everything right now, I know I am only one person.
Favorite book: “Open Veins of Latin America” by Eduardo Galeano.
My culinary specialty: I make a mean meatloaf with a Puerto Rican twist.
Best advice received: There is no progress without struggle.
People might be surprised to know that: I enjoy playing music for concert and marching bands as a low brass instrumentalist. I play the trombone and the tuba, but I dabble with guitar, piano and French horn as well. In the summer, I travel during pride season to perform with the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band.
Three words that describe me: Gay, Latino, organizer.
What I like best about Lancaster County: That it is my home. It is where I’m able to visit close relatives and friends, be my full self in a familiar environment and even navigate the backroads to avoid traffic.