VIDES 2018 Formation Camp
My name is Sarahi Perez and I am from Illinois. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Religious studies. At different stages during my college career, I volunteered at a hospice home, I tutored and mentored grade school children, I led bible study groups, and helped lead retreats. During my junior year of college I was hired as a marketing intern for a non-profit organization called The Resurrection Project and I helped with their social media, monthly newsletter, and website.
Later on I worked with a larger non-profit called, The Big Shoulders Fund, as a summer fellow helping inner city Catholic schools to have enough resources and stay open. I also worked as a marketing intern for Our Lady of Tepeyac Elementary School toward the end of my senior year.
However, the best experience I’ve had was after I graduated college and was hired as a summer teacher for a catechetical program. I enjoyed teaching children about salvation history, the rosary, and having the opportunity to watch them grow with each activity we did. The Totus Tuus program helped me realize how much children long for Jesus and how meeting someone who is passionate and on fire about their faith can change their perspective about religion. This program connected me to a small young-adult retreat team and for a couple of months I helped organize and lead retreats for several Catholic schools and parishes within the Diocese of Joliet. Lastly, before becoming a VIDES missioner, I also worked for Our Lady of Victory convent as a receptionist and helped with tasks in the human resources department.
In the future I hope to continue my studies and finish my Master’s degree in
Sociology and Divinity. From all the work I have done I have mostly enjoyed the work with children. Being able to help youth and empower them with knowledge and truth has been the most rewarding work.
My mission site is Guatemala and I will be working in el colegio Nuestra Señora del
Rosario in San Pedro Carchá. From what I know so far I will be teaching English, assisting the sisters with psychological cases of children, giving value formation classes, and possibly teaching catechism on Sundays.
About Formation Camp:
The formation camp was extremely helpful. I truly enjoyed the accompaniment
training guide and all the wisdom sharing. I think the faith journey sharing was also a great exercise that helped the group grow and connect better. All of the videos we watched were great, but I mostly enjoyed the story of St. John Bosco because it brought to life a lot of things we read and learned about. I also really liked the Lectio Divina we did together on the story of Joseph and all the meditations guided by Sister Theresa.
About Service Project:
Although we were only allowed to go one day, the service we did at St. Peter St.Joseph’s Home for Children was incredible. I did not think volunteering a few hours of our day, playing games, and singing songs with the boys would make such a difference in my life. I was able to see the suffering and trials in a lot of these boys’ eyes, as well as the loneliness and desire for authentic care and love. Most of the boys were around my younger brothers age and it really made me reflect about how much they need someone to just listen to them, or tell them how much they are loved and have a purpose. I thought a lot about something Mother Teresa said once – “Do small things with great love.” Simply being there for these boys with a big smile and open heart made a small impact. The way they responded to the story of Joseph also helped me see in a vivid way how our Scripture is truly the living word of God.
NOTE: Sarahi left for her mission in Guatemala on January 24, 2018. Please keep her in your prayers.