When Texas Southern University Student Regent Juan Sorto arrives in Washington, D.C. January 21st for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, he will not only be there to bask in the experience of watching the democratic process at work, but he will also be there to continue his vow of helping others and giving back to communities of need – specifically the homeless. Rather than sight- seeing, networking, partaking of the many parties, or simply staying in his hotel room while in D.C., Sorto has committed himself to feeding the homeless by volunteering in the DC Kitchen Central.
Recently, Sorto was named as a finalist for the Houston Texans Community Quarterback Award for his leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving his community with his work at Houston’s Star of Hope over the past six years. Over the past year however, Sorto decided that he would help someone everywhere that he went by donating his time to a shelter at each city that he is blessed to travel. Sorto has volunteered in Miami, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Even when his schedule does not allow him to volunteer at a shelter, he always makes sure to buy food for a group of homeless people.
When asked why volunteering to feed the homeless is so important to him, Sorto quickly reflects on his childhood memories. “My commitment to feeding the homeless has to do with where I come from and who I am,” said Sorto. “I was born in Dallas to young parents and shortly after my first birthday my mother decided that it was best for us that we return to El Salvador, a country that at that time was in the middle of a civil war. Times were hard and there were days where my mother and I would share salt, tortilla, and one egg to survive. There was a short time where my mother and I lived in this one room house with my grandmother, two young cousins, uncle, and an aunt. After a nearby attack by guerilla’s my mother and I relocated to La Linia, one of the poorest parts of the country. I went back to El Salvador over Christmas, and La Linia still does not have electricity, public water, and gas. It was in La Linia where the hardships of poverty really hit me. Upon my return to the USA I made a vow that I would always help those in need, a commitment I have kept and vow to keep always.”
Sorto has earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Houston – Downtown, a Masters in Public Administration from Texas Southern University and is working on a Ph. D in Urban Planning at Texas Southern University.
“I believe I have been able to successfully execute the role of Student Regent at TSU. I understand that TSU is made up of various religions, political, and national backgrounds. It is my responsibility to always make sure that EVERYONE has an equal voice. My personal options will always be second compare to the students. I am responsible for every student.”
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