“Look, I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. But when I got here, I found out three things: first, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, some of the streets weren’t paved at all; and third, I was expected to pave them.”
(Old Italian story, inscribed at Ellis Island)
The Frosina Information Network is an Albanian immigrant and cultural resource. It is a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to helping fulfill the needs and aspirations of persons of Albanian origin and others who have emigrated to the United States by providing some counseling and referral services. It is Frosina’s goal to nurture the Albanian communities of Massachusetts and other Albanian communities across the USA by disseminating information about a broad range of subjects that can benefit émigrés such as career possibilities, English as a Second Language (ESL) Programs, immigration lawyer listings, sources for certifying Albanian and other European university diplomas, job hunting on the the internet, etc., as well as providing non-legal counsel to facilitate the smooth integration of Albanian newcomers into American society until they achieve self-sufficiency. Although Frosina primarily serves an Albanian constituency, many of the Advisories that it regularly produces and distributes both in print form and on its WebSite www.frosina.org are utilized advantageously by other ethnic groups such as Hispanics and Asiatics.
It is also a vital and important objective of Frosina to educate people who are not of Albanian origin about Albania and its rich history, its varied and beautiful arts, through education and information that present the virtually unknown culture of this interesting and ancient Balkan people in fair, non-political, and non-sectarian positions.
Frosina’s founder and Executive Director, Albanian-born Van Christo, is a Member by appointment to Massachusetts Governor A. Paul Cellucci’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants and Massachusetts Health Commissioner Howard K. Koh’s Refugee and Health Advisory Committee.
Frosina actively solicits financial contributions to help support its varied activities on behalf of Albanian and other newcomers to the USA.
Because Frosina has been awarded Section 501(c)(3) status under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, all donations and gifts are deductible for income tax purposes and will be most welcome and greatly appreciated!
In response to many inquiries from people who have requested an explanation of the name “Frosina”, the following is a brief description about the person for whom the Foundation was named — my mother, Frosina Naum Christo.
Frosina Naum was born in 1909 in Drenova, Albania, a village near Korçe in southern Albania. She brought me to America when she was nineteen years old and I was only one to join my father, Spiro Christo, who had arrived in America a couple of months earlier to establish a home for us in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts. She was an orphan who was brought up by her uncle’s family because her own mother and father had both died when she was a small child.
My mother was outgoing and had a lot of friends. She also had a reputation as a great cook, particularly when it came to making two very delicious and popular Albanian dishes — Lakror and Baklava. I have many memories while I was growing up of my mother singing in the kitchen as she was rolling out dough for Lakror. But life for her was not especially easy, and there were many times when money was scarce. Although my father could speak passable English, my mother didn’t know English very well. Because of that, she seldom had the opportunity to communicate at length with anyone other than friends and relatives from Albania living nearby.
Where she was outgoing in her own group, among “Americans” she was often intimidated and uncertain. She had many dreams for herself and for me, but, unfortunately, she didn’t have time to realize most of her dreams or to see me achieve mine. My mother died in her mid-forties in 1956 after having been seriously ill because of heart disease after she had undergone several major operations that eventually resulted in the amputation of both legs.
I feel that in many ways my mother represents all mothers and fathers who emigrated to America. Her hardship and struggle are symbolic of all the difficulties experienced by our families when they came to this land, especially when compared to our cousins that were left behind in Albania. The Frosina Foundation aims to give something of our own good fortune to the mothers and fathers of the next generation of Albanian-Americans.