A couple months ago, we interviewed some of our country coordinators so we could share with you a little bit about their lives! All of our CCs are hardworking, passionate individuals who enjoy serving their communities and working with ISL volunteers, and they all have their own very unique stories. Here is what we learned in our interview with Saúl Veladiz, the country coordinator in Mexico!
Where is he from? Where has he lived?
Saúl was born in Nezahualcóyotl, near Mexico City in the State of Mexico.
What does he love most about his country?
He loves that the people are very friendly in his country. They are very approachable, and they are all always willing to open their door and make someone feel welcome. Especially during the last few years, he has really appreciated this.
What is his family like?
His family is very big; he has seven children with his wife Linda.
Where did he grow up? What was his childhood like?
Part of his childhood was in Mexico City, and he was raised in a very large family. Afterwards, he studied in the US.
What was the most impactful moment for him during his education?
Saúl studied Business in college. The most impactful moment for him was when he went back to school later as an adult. He had stopped studying when he was young because he started a family and needed to work, but after some time passed, he decided to go back to school to finish his education, and he was able to put it into practice in the jobs that he had.
What has he worked in besides being a CC?
He was a business administrator for a bread-distributing business. He had his own business and distributed bread for Oroweat where he used some aspects of what he had learned in school about business.
At what point did he realize what his calling was?
Regarding his education and the job that Saúl had, his vocation was business, but now his calling is serving the community. In 2004, a big change was made in his life, and he started serving the community in various ways, such as helping in various places in the community, in community centers, and in churches, helping with whatever the community needed. That also helped him manage his time and resources to help the community. One of the ways in which he does this now has been by doing medical clinics through a church. Also, he started to visit families to see how they were doing economically and spiritually to be able to help them in whatever the family needed. Even though he went to school for business, his vocation now is to serve the community in various ways, and one of those was when ISL found him.
What was his path to becoming an ISL CC?
In Mexico, Marta Stanley was working with ISL with her husband, Eric. Eric and Saúl did many things together in the community, so ISL told Saúl through Marta that they wanted him to work for ISL as a translator in the clinics. Little by little he became more involved, and he liked what they were doing, how they went to the communities and the homes so that the volunteers could get to know a community and a culture in Mexico that they would not get to know otherwise. That is how Saúl started with ISL.
How long has he been working with ISL?
He started to work with ISL in 2014.
A brief summary of what he does as a CC:
In Mexico, they keep and look for relationships in the community with governmental or private organizations to do service learning in the community of Mexico. They have governmental relationships with the hospital of health, the general hospital, and with an organization that helps restructure families in need. Also, they are involved with the community centers in the city, both governmental and private, with churches, with rehabilitation centers, and with the prison. The country coordinators work together with these organizations in every way possible to bring service to the community and to give the volunteers the opportunity to have more practical training, to get to know the health system in Mexico, and to understand the culture. They organize, plan, and accomplish in order to bear fruit for the communities and for the volunteers. That is how they bring everything together so that they have a very fruitful program for the community and for the volunteers.
What inspires him most about what he does?
What most inspires Saúl is seeing the youth of the volunteers who are willing to open their hearts and minds to something different. He says that it helps character growth to go a little bit out of one’s comfort zone and get to know various cultures. It really inspires him when he sees that a young person does something so brave. Since we live in a difficult world, it gives him hope when he sees that the students go out to serve.
Interested in experiencing Mexico for yourself? Check out our upcoming teams here!