Faith in Action

It has been a remarkable 2018 for the students of TLI. Below we would like to share some of their commitment to leading within their family, parish, community, and in business.

Micaela Larkin, Arizona Legislature

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There is a great need for an understanding of the history of the Catholic Church in the US.  As one part of my commitment, I plan to write a book to provide insight into our Church’s past, Catholic Social Teaching, Irish Catholicism, and the American Southwest using my family’s history as the hook to explore some of these themes. I also believe there is much to be done in person-to-person evangelization. To meet this need, I plan to assist efforts to evangelize South Phoenix, undertake a book club or organization to be found on Meetup/Internet to try to reach “nones” or “spiritual” types, and start an email list for my Catholic friends.  

Alex Julian, Cicero Preparatory Academy

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I have a great concern for the proper education of our youth. I believe there is much to be done to offer a high-quality, public education that orients young hearts and minds toward a lifelong pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. As a graduate of the TLI Class of 2018, my leadership commitment is to become a headmaster or principal at a liberal-arts oriented educational institution. 

Dulce Hernandez, Catholic Charities Community Services

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There is a need for youth to embrace and value human dignity. As a graduate of TLI my leadership commitment is to volunteer in 2 organizations that work with youth to present mission opportunities from social services that value people’s lives. I will help youth to see their own self-worth as a gift, to value the dignity of others through mission work and to continuously seek human touch. This journey will help me evangelize, open doors to board membership, be a positive model for youth and be able to recommend future TLI participants towards other missions that value the gift of human dignity.

Angela Heisel, University of Phoenix

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My commitment will be to help manage TLI’s social media accounts (Facebook and LinkedIn) to help spread the Catholic message to professionals and build Tepeyac Leadership Initiative’s presence on social media. The hope is this will generate interest in TLI among future participants and promote Catholic teachings in a way that is relevant to working adults who may or may not be close to the faith but who are interested in professional growth. 

Pedro Gutierrez, Green Path Inc

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In response to the needs of the local community which has expressed a desire to grow in holiness through the Catholic Action spirituality, with the help of current members, I have decided to open a new program for married couples. The aim of this program is to foster holy consciences within young and experienced married families, providing them the opportunity to: 1.) foster community 2.) serve one another, and 3.) learn from each other’s experiences on how to live out their vocation of Holy Matrimony. Additionally, this group can mentor members in the brother group of Young Adults who are discerning the married life.

Gloria Guerra, Bilingual Insurance and HR Solutions

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I have a great concern for the professional education of our multicultural female population. I believe there is much to be done in terms of providing opportunities and financial education in our community and provide confidence for women to become entrepreneurs, so they can have a flexible schedule to enjoy life and motherhood. I intend to start a financial and PR mentoring and support program to pair up women, mothers, special needs moms and entrepreneurs with more experienced ones.  In addition, as a graduate of the TLI my leadership commitment is to promote local catholic businesses to work together and launch a radio program featuring impactful life-changing stories of how God guides us to move forward.

Gustavo Estrella, Davidson Belluso, Inc

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The knowledge and topics shared in TLI were invaluable, and the speakers, the networking opportunities, and overall content will be instrumental in making a positive impact in the secular world through the sharing of truth, goodness and beauty. In partnership with Angela Heisel, my leadership commitment is to help establish TLI’s online presence by way of brand development, content creation, and community building through its website and social media platforms. This, in an effort to encourage professionals to participate and take advantage of all TLI offers for the advancement of the apostolic mission of the church.

Javier Espinoza, Remax New Heights Realty

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“Build for My poor people.” This is the message I received as we kneeled in front of the Eucharist during our TLI retreat. As the cost of living increases year to year, it is becoming increasingly difficult for those with low incomes to find decent living accommodations. Today I commit to developing affordable housing complexes and houses for low-income families and individuals and help them end the rent cycle keeping them from progressing. These developments will provide affordable housing units for rent that will integrate programs creating a pathway to home ownership.

Maria Escarceca, Child and Family Support Services

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Through TLI, I’ve become acutely aware of the need to have Christ present in our schools and for the Catholic Church to have more of her members supporting community growth in faith and love. As a graduate of TLI 2018, I plan to participate on a board in an organization that will help with Catholic Outreach in the community and to involve myself as leader in a school.

Ricardo Contreras, Duran Accounting Solutions LLC

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One of the biggest and most concerning challenges I see in the Church is the massive exodus of youth to so called “new churches”; churches that offer an apparently easier, more convenient path to salvation. I believe there is much to be done in terms of renewing the way we, the Catholic Church, reach out to the youth. My leadership commitment is to develop a Catholic awareness campaign program within my local parish, letting the Hispanic community know that: 1) The Catholic Church is also for the youth. 2) The Church leadership is working diligently to stop this trend in the short term and ultimately solve it. 3) I will lead by example; by offering my time to addressing this concern.

Norma Carrillo, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul

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My mission in life is to make an impact on every person I encounter. It isn’t difficult to make an impact on someone’s life but rather it is difficult to make a meaningful impact. I see teenagers and young women encountering obstacles in life, such as sexual harassment, physical, mental or verbal abuse, and even sexual violence. The women and teenagers who encounter these obstacles, likely don’t have a role model who knows the right way to overcome them. I commit to starting a support group for those who need help overcoming their obstacles. I hope to make a meaningful impact on the women and teenagers who join the group.

Roxana Amaton, Chicanos Por La Causa

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I would like to continue to use my gifts of counseling, healing, and teaching. Much compassion is needed for victims of abuse, trauma, and abortion. Being on the Board of Restore Dignity will allow me to continue to advocate for life. St. John Paul II said, “Society as a whole must respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person’s life.” I believe that when we understand our purpose and learn about our dignity and worth we become better prepared to defend life. Lastly, I will allow my relationship with God to continue to grow so that others may continue to encounter Christ through me.

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