“E-man” is short for Emmanuel Nathan Monge. Usually, folks just call me E-man.
My folks met in Texas. They were going to seminary, and my father was pursuing education and came up here to Goshen College. That’s how I came to be in the area. I was born and raised here in Goshen.
Growing up, one of the things I learned quickly was diversity and differences in culture. Going through the private school system, I was usually in the minority. My parents are Central American – Costa Rican and Nicaraguan. So even among minorities, I was a minority as well.
I was in high school during 9/11, so that kind of changed a lot of things for me – just how people looked at me, treated me. It was something I had to learn: just being overly polite and saying ‘hi’ to people so they know I’m friendly and approachable. Some of my experiences give me unique perspectives to be gracious and treat everyone equally, and with respect and dignity.
I’ve been the executive director here at The Post-Youth Center for two years. The Post provides a safe and fun place for teens who may come from tough situations at home, or if they have ups and downs at school, we try to meet them where they’re at. We hope they leave a little healthier, in some capacity. We do that by just getting to know them and having a relationship. Being openly faith based, we do believe that God not only loves us as the staff, but also the teens who come here.
I grew up with a dysfunctional family, which led me to feeling angry and sad and turned me into a binge drinker during my college years. I can relate to what it feels like dealing with guilt and shame. I had people in my life who set me on a different trajectory. My goal here at The Post is to meet teens where they’re at, and if they are wanting to go on a different trajectory, to do my part to help them out the best I can.
In terms of what makes Goshen a unique place to be, community is a word that comes to mind. Whether it’s going to The Electric Brew, Honey’s, Linway Plaza, etc., it always seems like I’m running into people who I know, and they’re always open to a conversation on some level.
Editor • Maddie Yost, Scott Weisser
Interview + Photography • Scott Weisser