Teen determined to make difference

Service trip to Peru is one way Angelique Lemerond practices works of mercy

GREEN BAY — Don’t let Angelique Lemerond’s soft-spoken nature fool you. When this 15-year-old sets her mind and heart to something, she is determined to make it happen. A service trip to Peru last summer is a good example.

Your Catholic Neighbor: Angelique Lemerond (Jeff Kurowski | The Compass)

In February, Lemerond decided that she wanted to make a trip with her mother, Stephanie. She first needed to talk things over with her father, Brad. Angelique put together a binder with information about air fare, the country, who they would be helping, where they would be staying and other details. Raising the money was the next task.

Through her experience as a Girl Scout in Troop 4270, Angelique is a seasoned fundraiser. A brat fry helped raise money in support of their two-week August outreach venture.

“Lima has 30 districts,” explained Angelique. “Each day, we would go to this area where a lot of the buildings had hardly any roof left and no windows. We would go to a school and would teach a class. We would stay there in the morning. I had 3 ½ year-olds in my room.”

The poverty situation was heightened during meal times. The volunteers served breakfast and lunch each day.

“You really had to make them eat, because they don’t get much food at home,” said Angelique.

The area of the city was not only poverty stricken, but also dangerous. The volunteers, who stayed at a house located 20 minutes away, were dropped off at the front door and warned not to wander outside.

“I was really nervous in the beginning, going to a place you don’t know,” said Angelique. “The first day, a bunch of people came to the (volunteer) house from different states and a girl from Germany. We had to do an activity right away when we met, a bonding activity. We had to buy bread and ingredients to make sandwiches and hand them out on the street to people who we felt needed them.

“I’ve seen videos of people who hand out food to people who don’t have much,” she added. “I always really wanted to do that.”

Angelique was concerned about the language barrier. Communication was initially difficult, but she was able to use hand gestures and her Spanish improved during the experience. It was her first opportunity to work with young children.

“I never really liked kids before,” she said. “I developed a relationship with them. They hugged my legs and we played games.”

“My sister-in-law, her aunt, who has two little girls, saw pictures from the trip of her with the kids,” explained Stephanie. “She commented that Angelique never seemed very warm with little kids. Something changed in her.”

Angelique, a sophomore at Bay Port High School in Suamico, said that India is next on her list of service trips. Closer to home, she continues to support people in need. This Sunday, Dec. 20, she and troop mate McKenna Roman, are holding a bake sale after Masses at Annunciation Church to raise money for a Christmas giving project.

In the past, the troop hosted a family for a Christmas dinner gathering in the church basement that included gifts, decorations, music and a skit. Due to a smaller number of Girl Scouts, that type of event is no longer possible, but they still wanted to continue the giving tradition.

“This year, we bought meals for a week for a family,” explained Angelique. “For another family, we bought them a real Christmas tree. The little girl wanted a real Christmas tree.”

“We got the families through the parish,” said Stephanie. “They are in a program that is protected, so they couldn’t give to them personally. Sometimes, you just give knowing it’s a good thing to do. You are not going to get that quick reward. They really understood that.”

Angelique is working to earn the Gold Award, the top Girl Scout honor. She started as a Daisy Scout. Her other passions also began at a young age. She started in dance at age 2 and horse riding at age 3. She competes in both.

Other volunteer efforts include helping her mom clean Annunciation Church and assisting with the Encompass raffle booth at the Big Event for Little Kids in April at Shopko Hall in Ashwaubenon.

Angelique is appreciative of the generosity she has received at fundraisers and through donation campaigns.

“I have learned that people are supportive,” she said. “They can’t go, but can support people in need through you.”

Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Angelique Lemerond
Parish: Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Green Bay
Age: 15
Favorite saint: Patrick
Words to live by: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”