QUARANTINE TIMES: 'BUNNY' PEREZ
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
While we go through these unprecedented times together, we begin to see the positives. At least that is what Juan Perez is helping us do.
Perez says by looking for the good, we can realize that "there are opportunities for all of us to grow when dealing with the hardships we are facing.”
As the Senior Director of Programming Excellence for the Boys and Girls Club of America in the Pittsburgh area, Perez has always had a knack for community involvement and or volunteering to help people in need. Most people are mainly concerned for themselves, but Juan is just the opposite.
Juan keeps himself occupied by helping families and the members of the Boys and Girls Club. This Easter, Juan and his family created "hygiene buckets" that they filled with food and candy that he delivered, dressed up as a Bunny on Easter day.
Perez has really instilled hope and joy in the neighborhood during the spring holiday season, reminding kids to stay safe, clean, and humble. He has also created an online clubhouse for students in grades K through 7 to keep them up to date with their school work and so they can keep in touch virtually.
“I am trying to have a positive impact on my community and help the children that look to the Boys and Girls Club for guidance” Perez said.
Perez also does regular ‘walk bys’, going past the homes of family and friends to check in on them and see if they need anything from a safe social distance.
Juan believes that we all can learn from his experiences during this pandemic. He states, “We spend so much time on devices just entertaining ourselves that we often overlook the advances we can make in using technology to improve the world around us.”
Juan’s sole focus now is to spread joy is because he thinks that is what we need during this time. “We have an overabundance of negativity and fear everywhere you look. We are counting deaths on the news like it was an update to a sporting event," he observes. "If we do not balance that negativity and fear with some joy and positivity, we will become unbalanced and lose hope.”
"It does not mean we bury our heads in the sand and lose touch with what is happening. It also does not mean that we should be unreasonably optimistic and lose touch with the reality of the situation we are in. We have to be somewhere in the middle between hope and despair” Perez told me.
In the end Juan is still finding out ways to serve his community. As he puts it, “I have been fortunate enough to have people look out for me when I was a kid and it is a debt I feel I owe”.
~~ Juan Perez, interviewed by Aaron Exler, Class of '23
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