Jesuit Volunteer Corps profiles:Justin Velez

Justin Velez

Photo by Julie Raefield-Gobbo.
Justin Velez

Age: 24

Hometown: Davis, Calif.

Graduated: Loyola Marymount University, 2011; B.A. in history and political science

Assigned in Hood River as a youth supervisor, St. Francis House of Odell after-school youth program

“It’s a great way to live in another place, have an internship and experience an alternative living style,” said Justin Velez, a “veteran” JVC volunteer.

Velez, who is working at St. Francis House of Odell supervising youth in an after-school program, already spent one year in Detroit with JVC helping with a low-income energy education program.

“Doing service is really important. It become increasingly difficult to make time for that kind of commitment after you have a job or a family,” said Velez, a focused and direct young man.

“I was wanting to do direct service — to have relationships and emotional connections in my work. I was really drawn to the idea of working with kids on developmental education.”

Velez’s desire to be of service stems from a deep philosophical source.

“I want to give others some of the opportunities I’ve been given.”

He shared that his own spirituality is not strictly defined by his Catholic upbringing, but relates well to the mission of his volunteer site.

“I believe we are trying to make a holy space — I feel connections to people and nature — those are holy spaces. From there you can launch new possibilities.”

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Latest video:

Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge



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