Founder of Kidz XL and Pastor of True Vine Christian Church
In August 2004, after 16 years as a full-time youth pastor from San Diego, California, I embarked on an new and amazing journey as the Senior Pastor of La Vina del Senor in Miami, Florida which is now known as True Vine Christian Church, a member of the Evangelical Free Church of America and the parent agency of Kidz XL. At the time, La Vina was meeting in a rented 2nd floor area of Olympia Heights Methodist Church located on the border of the Westchester/Olympia Heights communities of Miami in the 33165 zip code, a population of over 100,000 people within a 3 mile radius of the church. 80% of the homes in these communities speak Spanish as the primary language spoken at home. In addition, obesity in children in these communities existed in epidemic proportions. The reality that most of the children who grew up in these homes could not get help with their English-only homework combined with our love to play and provide the 60 minutes a day of healthy physical activity that every child needs provided the opportunity that was needed to start Kidz XL. In reflection, Kidz XL was simply a divinely inspired response to Miami's vast need for programs for children and families in need. In the midst of great cultural and social-economic challenges of these under-served and under-resourced communities of Miami, Kidz XL has been blessed and honored to have played a vital role in helping develop some of the most beautiful and glorious stories of transformation in all of Miami.