Jorge Juarez, Executive Director of Recreational Sports at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, has the opportunity to influence young adults on a daily basis: “Universities, today, are taking a more holistic approach toward students by not only educating the mind in the classroom, but by helping students socially, physically, etc. In the field of Recreational Sports, we provide sports and fitness programs that help students build friendships, create healthy habits, and more, because these things are also important. But as a Catholic Christian, I believe in the mind-body-spirit connection. It’s great to pursue degrees and success, but true joy comes when we are nourished spiritually. I hope that those I work with, and the students that I mentor, find in me the joy and peace that come from a life pursuing the will of God.”
As a father of four young children, he sees the importance of obedience and discipline as he has learned that children are great imitators. Because of this, he strives as the spiritual head of the household to set an example worthy to be followed. Jorge stays fit for more than just physical appeal: “I was diagnosed with diabetes 13 years ago. Eating right and working out gets my blood sugar under control, which helps me to stay healthy for my family and for the work that God has for me.” His wife, Veronica, will go for a run to release stress after a rough day. A good run provides an opportunity to see God in nature, a time to slow down and be thankful, and to release worries, stress, and anger. Jorge lives a life in service to others: “Jesus served, and we are called to imitate him in service. Whether it is cleaning up after a sick kid in the middle of the night or helping move students into their dorms at the beginning of the year, I feel that God gives all of us opportunities to serve others.”
Jorge’s father left his mother when he was six months old. Being the youngest of seven children and being brought up on his mother’s income from housekeeping was a challenge. College seemed impossible for him, but God opened a path, and he went to college using federal grant money. Soon, he flunked out, and it wasn’t until years later when his local priest encouraged him to go back to school, even paying for one course for him. He got his bachelor’s degree, and then went on to get a master’s. His battles gave him the strength he has today. He is thankful today to be in a position to help others, and says he will never forget the people that God worked through to help him get to where he is today.
Jesus served, and we are called to imitate him in service. God gives all of us opportunities to serve others.
A true servant of the Lord, Jorge is an inspiration to all. He says that failure is never easy, but he recognizes that nothing is bigger than God. He “recently heard a Christian speaker talking about one of his own failures. He said, ‘JESUS is the light. We are a reflection of HIS light…we, ourselves, are not the light.’ That’s relieving knowing that God has compassion and mercy on our humanity. When we fall, we’ve got to dust ourselves off and get back up.” This strength is the epitome of the idea of MC. Life is guaranteed to known you down; the strength to get back up is what is important.