Westminster Senior Luca Sebastian Roque Velasco took on a volunteer job that most people won’t do, going to the OpusCare Hospice Organization’s facility to talk to the dying residents.
“We would provide companionship and spend time with the elderly sick patients” Roque says, adding that many of the hospice patients don’t have a lot of family to visit them.
Roque would talk to them and also play dominos with the residents.
“I’d do anything they would want to do,” he says. “There were those who didn’t like to leave their rooms, and we would go talk to them in the privacy of their rooms.”
He really enjoyed his visits with the residents.
During his conversations, he said “I learned a lot about Cuba and other areas of Cuba I hadn’t visited on the mission trip I went last year. I enjoyed talking to them about life and playing dominos with them,” he says.
Roque also participated in the OpusCare Turkey Drive last Thanksgiving.
“We provide turkeys for family members who were spending most of their money on their family members (in hospice care),” he says.
He recently helped OpusCare with hurricane relief efforts. The organization has facilities in San Antonio, Corpus Christi as well as South Miami.
He is currently organizing a volunteer project to get other Westminster students to volunteer at the OpusCare facility.
The summer after his freshman year, Roque went on a ten-day mission trip to Santiago and Holguin, Cuba with a group called Cuban Evolution.
Roque went with his mother, his sister and other families. They traveled on a mission with the purpose of supporting the Church’s new recreational center, which is becoming a place where community kids can go after school and play sports, games and read. We provided spiritual support as well to the Cubans and helped with them supplies such as soccer balls, jerseys and board games. “We gave them little prayer cards, crosses and other items which they loved,” he says.
While there, they cleaned and painted the house of a severely handicapped child that had a mold problem. The family was so grateful.
They went to Church of the Sacred Heart in Santiago and met with the Monsignor there.
“In Holguin we handed out supplies such as bags of rice and toothbrushes to the members of the Church that would travel miles from the countryside.”
They played with the kids and gave them new pairs of soccer shoes, jerseys, hair clips for the girls and soccer equipment. They also distributed toys and books.
“A lot of those kids don’t grow up with the privileges we have in America,” he says. “We take for granted a lot of things they don’t have. A lot of them were playing soccer in shoes that were falling apart.”
The children were excited to receive the gifts.
Despite our differences and an ocean which separates us, it was good to see that they are kids, just like us.
“I can remember a whole group of them came and gave me a hug, it felt good to see them happy,” he says.
Roque and his family raised money for that mission trip by hosting a movie night that was attended by church members, friends and family.
At school, Roque volunteered at Fun Camps as well as the Arts and Science camps for the elementary school students. He loves playing with kids.
At the high school, Roque is the Founder of the Games Club, which is a forum for members to play all sorts of games, from dominos to video game tournaments, plus board games.
Roque is applying to Florida International University, Catholic University, Marymount University in Arlington, Marist, and High Point in South Carolina.