Mayela Mendoza “When I was younger, I was a little lost”

Mayela Mendoza admits she was close to being on the wrong side of life.

“When I was younger, I was a little lost…Right now, I would probably be making bad choices—not being the best version of who I can be.” That is, had it not been for a small group of folks who took interest in Mendoza.

“Those people really mentored my life. Not just my faith life, but in general—how I live. When those people made an impact in my life, it was like something was born inside me to do the same thing for other kids—make an impact in their life.” And that’s just what Mendoza is doing. The Monterrey, Mexico native—along with two others—works with the Latino youth group at Christ the King Catholic Church in Bossier City. For 10 years, Mendoza has volunteered—her way of paying it forward.

“We teach kids about the bible, and how our faith started.” “It’s all church related. We simplify some of the things, so it’s easier for them to understand. The bible is sometimes written in old words we no longer use. We have to modernize what the bible—the scriptures—talk about.” But Mendoza’s work is not limited to religion. 

“We also teach the kids how to be leaders. That’s one of my favorite things. We like to see them blossom and find gifts—talents—they didn’t know they had. Mendoza believes while leadership skills don’t come natural to everyone, they are essential to everyone.

“Some people are leaders, and some people are followers. It’s very important for (followers) to learn how to be leaders, because that helps you in your everyday life. In your job. In your family. They are going to grow up and hopefully have a family of their own. It’s more like a life skill—to be able to take charge of whatever they are trying to do.”

In 2005, Mendoza’s father took charge, and moved his family from Mexico to Bossier City on a work visa. That allowed them to be closer to Mendoza’s sister (Katy), and Mendoza’s aunt, who were already in the United States.

And there was one other reason. “We wanted to have a better education.” In many ways, that education came from Christ the King. Mendoza became a member when she arrived in Bossier. “That’s where I did my confirmation, my first communion, my marriage, and my sacraments.”

And Mendoza is trying to pass along things she learned from the church, to 13–17-year-olds who are now part of the church. “Everything we do, everything we teach them, is so they can be better people—a better community. It’s very important to support each other. What I hope they learn from it is how to leave and better the society.”

Mendoza’s work is appreciated by the church—especially its leader. “It is a great blessing to have Mayela and her team guiding our young ones,” said Father Fidel Madragon, Christ the King’s pastor. “She is a humble woman who works diligently to live out her faith and practice the sacraments.”

And Father Madragon has taken notice of Mendoza’s special relationship with the church’s young people.

“Something very important is that she gets involved with her hands, her feet, her lips, and her mind—getting close to these teens and leading them. I think she acts out what was said by Pope Francis: “I would rather have a church that is hurt from going out to the streets, than one who is sick and locks itself in its office. The latter smells bad and dies.”

While Mendoza continues her work with the church, she recently started a new, her full-time job. Mendoza is working as the Youth Director and the Hispanic Minister Assistant at The Catholic Disease of Shreveport.

She continues to stay on the right side of life.

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