Junior Industrial and Systems Engineering Major from Jacksonville, FL
Hi, I'm Luis Chong. I was born in Panama City, Panama but I've lived in Jacksonville most of my life. I grew up Catholic, but my family never really pushed me to follow my faith or even attend Mass. When I came to UF I was extremely dedicated to only studying and joined a soccer team so I could stay active. I was invited to attend Nueva Alianza by a fellow soccer player, and I haven't stopped going ever since. They were so welcoming and were completely fine with the fact that I didn't know much of my faith or almost never attended Mass anymore. After going on the Alpha Retreat In Spring 2013, I became much more involved at St. A's and met even more friends outside of Nueva Alianza that I could have ever imagined. Everyone is this community is just so in love with following God and wanting to share that joy with everyone else. There is always something to do for everyone and it serves as a home away from home. I have even been blessed to live with some incredible friends from St. A’s. I can't wait to help reach out to the Hispanic community and any other students, to help them feel accepted to this community just like I was. If you have any questions about Nueva Alianza, please ask me!
Sophomore Exploratory Engineering Major from Miami, FL
Hello, my name is Kenneth Fernandez. My parents are from Dominican Republic but I was born and raised in Miami, FL. In my childhood, our family would attend Mass regularly mostly because we found it an obligation. As the years passed, we would seem to make more and more excuses to not go to Mass. When I was 14, my dad did the Emaus retreat at our local church, St. John Neumann, in Miami and since then we have been attending Mass every Sunday. Although I would go to Mass every week, I felt like I did not have a strong connection with God. Later that year I did a retreat called AGAPE meant for high school students. That retreat changed my life. Since then, I have gotten more involved by giving talks on religious topics, serving in multiple retreats, and serving God through music. After moving to Gainesville I have continued to serve via my music at St. Augustine's and will now serve in Nueva Alianza. This upcoming school year brings excitement knowing that it will give me more opportunities to help people. If you have any questions regarding Nueva Alianza, please feel free to ask me!