GREEN COVE SPRINGS — Victoria Gonzales always had a passion in her church, but now she has a role to thrive in.
Gonzales, who has down syndrome, volunteered to be Mt. Zion AME Church’s Young …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS — Victoria Gonzalez always had a passion in her church, but now she has a role to thrive in.
Gonzalez, who has down syndrome, volunteered to be Mt. Zion AME Church’s Young People Department coordinator.
“I want the kids to have fun and praise god,” she said.
She’s tasked with playing games with the youth and helping with food for the department. About a week ago, Victoria Gonzalez and her mother assisted with the church’s toy drive.
“We gave toys to kids in need,” Victoria Gonzalez said. “They didn’t have any toys.” Cheryl Gonzalez said her daughter originally wanted to be a part of the young people department but had aged out. When the church asked Victoria Gonzalez if she wanted to be a coordinator she jumped at the chance, her mother said.
Her daughter already had an affinity for the preaching and choir, and now she can be a part of the church functions, Cheryl Gonzalez said.
“She has a very giving spirit and giving heart,” Cheryl Gonzalez said. “She loves helping others. They really love her and assist her [at church].”
Cheryl Gonzalez said her daughter isn’t afraid to speak up and said Victoria told a crowd she could sell art to renovate a building near the church.
“She turns around and says, ‘And my mom is going to help with that,’” Cheryl Gonzalez said with a laugh.
Rev. James Pernell said Victoria Gonzalez is doing a phenomenal job as a coordinator. He called the church a safe haven and its goal is to give people a platform. It is a big responsibility that he believes Victoria Gonzalez is ready for the job.
“We pride ourselves on being a church of the community, regardless of disability. We see her as an adult,” Pernell said. “It’s that compassionate love Christ said to have for one another.”
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