La Prossima: The Next Generation

Nov 18, 2023 1577

BY: Richard Leto & Andrew Speicher

Moving into a brand-new house, the start of a new job or yet your first newborn child brings so much joy and excitement into your life, making for truly a new beginning.  Here is the story of the inaugural start, a new beginning for a vibrant club of young adults of Italian descent.

La Prossima, is a young adult group that represents the next generation who share values and a passion to carry on Italian traditions, ancestral family heritage, and keep their shared Italian culture alive. The group is on a journey to connect with fellow Italo-Americans and experience the warmth of La Famiglia. Their focus and desire is to strengthen the bonds that tie them to Italy and America into the foreseeable future.

La Prossima had its inaugural start in the capital city of Ohio; Columbus.  The first meeting of the 27 founding members was held on November 9, 2023 at the Italian Cultural Center of the historic Italian Roman Catholic church of St. John the Baptist which by the way recently celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2023. 

The birth of La Prossima is the inspiration of co-founders Andrew Speicher, Vincenzo Frissora, and Angelina Tiberi who all share ancestral roots in Abruzzo. Andrew and Vincenzo attend the Ohio State University while Angelina attends Arizona State University. Through grassroot efforts using both Facebook and Instagram established a large following not only in Columbus but also in the Cleveland, Ohio area.  The name, La Prossima, means “the next” in Italian, implying the next generation of Italian Americans to carry forward the culture. It signifies the continuous evolution and growth of the Italian American identity among young adults. Andrew commented that “this new beginning with a young adult membership brings new life into our already thriving local Columbus Italian American community.” The Columbus area has several longstanding Italian American clubs and organizations. However, the founders of La Prossima felt there was something missing.

La Prossima’s mission was to start an organization catered toward the young community of Italian Americans in Columbus, OH. They pride themselves on no membership fees, and a more relaxed approach toward membership with a pay per event structure. The founders also wanted to create an organization that was inclusive of everyone – a space to celebrate who they are with the commonality of their Italian roots.

Andrew’s paternal side of the family hails from Pettorano sul Gizio, Abruzzo, and Fontanafredda, Friuli-Venezia, while his maternal side of the family immigrated from Giulianova, Abruzzo in the early 1900s. Both families settled in the Marble Cliff neighborhood of Grandview, OH.

Andrew, Vincenzo, and Angelina laid out the plans of La Prossima going forward. Once again, with always having the mindset of the next generation that will strive to preserve, and promote their shared Italian heritage. During the inaugural meeting, each founding member introduced themselves and highlighted their respective region in Italy where they trace their ancestral roots. Several members share roots in Abruzzo, with others having roots in the regions of Lazio, Campania, Calabria, and Sicilia. Upon hearing their introductions, it was clear they are extremely proud to carry on the traditions and legacy of their Italian ancestors.

The founding members are diverse, inclusive, and career minded professionals who when regular meetings occur plan to celebrate their Italian heritage in all facets; such as fashion/arts, sports, genealogy research, food/cooking, Italian language, and cultural awareness, with a spirit of fun always as a backdrop and of course “aperitivo” time! 

The members through both their immediate and extended family/friends have already participated in the many local active Columbus Italian community activities/clubs, especially the annual Columbus Italian festival that takes place on the grounds of the historic St. John the Baptist church.

The inaugural meeting was filled with enthusiasm, energy, that showcased the respectful character and leadership roles this young adult generation of Italian Americans possess to meet their future goals and aspirations. There is no doubt, they have taken the baton and are now ready to carry it forward into the future with endless possibilities.  A notable quote by Mahatma Gandhi captures the essence of La Prossima; “The future depends on what we do in the present.” With small steps now and big plans ahead, La Prossima is well positioned to make an impactful difference within the Italian American community. La Prossima can be found on Instagram at @laprossimasocieta.

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