By: Lindsay Goodrich
She made me feel welcome as soon as I met her. It seemed like she encouraged me every time I saw her. She is mature and wise beyond her years. She is laid back and willing to go with the flow while at the same time, eager to bring new ideas to high school program to make it the very best it can be. She has made the transition from program participant to Ciudad Nueva staff this year and it has been beautiful to watch. Allow me to introduce Vero Aldabe.
It’s amazing to see Vero giving back to Ciudad Nueva in her work on staff, as youth program assistant. She is a living example of what it means to bloom where you are planted, serving and leading kids in her community, letting her roots here grow deep. I truly admire her commitment to God’s work in the Rio Grande neighborhood and she challenges me to consider the ways God is working in my hometown. Her example reminds me that God is working “close to home” and everywhere else. He can use me where I am.
Her presence on staff this year has also been a reminder to me of how important it is to work with the locals wherever you want to see healthy community development happen. Vero’s perspective is invaluable to Ciudad Nueva’s programs. She is an expert on this community because it is her own community. When Lindsey and I have questions about how a game or announcement might be received by the kids, Vero’s understanding of the situation clarifies what will work and why. When we wonder if a phrase or a story is culturally translatable, we ask Vero. When evaluating if program is going well or not, Vero’s opinion is a unique, essential perspective.
When you watch Vero with the kids who are a part of Ciudad Nueva programs, you can see this connection between them that allows Vero to enter into relationships as a leader with a certain level of trust from the kids that I naturally do not have as an outsider coming in. Vero has been a constant encouragement to me through her actual words of encouragement, her perspective on ministry in the neighborhood and her commitment to leading.