One of the core priorities of the Viatorian Community is to “embrace those accounted of little importance.” In the case of Associates Romeo and Deborah Perez of Las Vegas, even their children are advancing those values through their respective Scouting projects.
Last month, Rylie and Romeo Perez, Jr. earned the highest awards in Scouting. Rylie earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, while Romeo earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Both awards are extremely rare, with fewer than 6 % of Scouts attaining them. The requirements are extensive, but overall the aspiring Scouts must demonstrate leadership and a desire to serve others.
“As parents, we pray for our children to find purpose and meaning,” Deborah Perez says. “A large part of that comes through service and volunteerism, and their years of Scouting are a part of that foundation.”
Both teens worked to help abused and neglected children in the Las Vegas area, served by the nonprofit organization, Brandolyn’s Gift. The agency works with the Department of Family Services to offer temporary shelter to teens needing to be removed from their home, placing them in foster homes until they can return.
Rylie, 16, worked to renovate a room where hygiene and cosmetic supplies are stored for teenagers to access in foster care, while R.J., 15, worked to collect the supplies to fill the room. Both teens and their parents are active members of St. Viator Catholic Community and the parish stepped up to support them, both with financial and material donations.
Parish members contributed $1,300 toward the renovation project, with local businesses contributing as well, including Home Depot, Ruben’s Wood Craft and Toys, the Container Store and Hobby Lobby. Parishioners also donated 1,500 hygiene and cosmetic items, before R.J. held a unique fundraiser to help the cause: a Songs for Supplies rock concert.
The benefit concert took place April 30 and featured four bands, including R.J.’s own band, Punker Than Your Mom. The unique event raised $3,000 for Brandolyn’s Gift as well as a greater awareness of teens in foster care.
R.J. took the teens’ plight of suddenly needing supplies to heart, saying “It shouldn’t have to be a luxury to feel normal, especially as a teen.”
It turns out their commitment to service and helping those accounted of little importance was rooted in Scouting — with the help of some Viatorians involved as their Scout leaders. Associate Rosy Hartz serves as co-leader of Rylie’s Girl Scout troop, while John and Jaclyn Miller serve as pack leaders of R.J.’s Boy Scout troop. John is the son of Associate Mary Miller.
“Our children are led by true servant leader,” Deborah Perez adds, “that have given their time, talent and treasure over the years.”