By Robert C. Scarpa
I can remember the date well, July 3rd, 1998. I was sitting in the audience at the Parish Life Conference, Talent Show. It had been a difficult year for me due to the recent passing of my grandfather, a few months prior. Every year, my brothers and I would attend the PLC with my grandparents. On this occasion, my heart was saddened. I found myself reminiscing about wonderful memories, not knowing that my future was about to change in a most profound way at that moment.
Dino Mavropoulos, had just concluded his masterful performance on the violin. As the crowd stood in applause, I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder. I turned around to see Somaya Watkins, with a warm, caring smile on her face. We began a conversation about the youth in the parish and she proceeded to ask me if I had any interest in becoming the next Teen SOYO advisor.
I have always believed that God has always directed my path in life but not until years later would I realize the life changing significance of accepting this request. I nervously said, “Yes.”, not knowing what I was about to get myself into. I have never had any experience dealing with teenagers, on a leadership level, as I was just 22 years old myself. At this time in my life, I was someone who never liked to take any risks. This role was “not in my personality.” I was just beginning graduate school and was anxious on how I was going to divide my time and provide the attention required to be a SOYO advisor.
Over the next 6 years, my life was blessed ten-fold with the experiences that I encountered , by being surrounded with the love of our St. Anthony’s SOYO. Our first event, was a “Lock In” that included 5 teens alongside myself and my brother, Brian.
That night, not knowingly at that time, served as a foundation in which our service ministry would be built upon. Initial, delicate bonds were Continue reading “The Teen SOYO Advisor”