The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Jennifer Verkamp: A Heart for Children

Verkamp has traveled to Central America to work with orphans

Published: August 28, 2015   
Jennifer Verkamp bonds with Julissa in March 2014 at the Franciscan orphanage in Esquipulas, Guatemala.

Jennifer Verkamp has two good reasons why she is following her heart. Twin sisters, from Guatemala, adopted into the family when they were 14 months old, have been influential in Verkamp’s decisions to follow her heart’s desire to reach out to immigrant, orphaned and refugee children.

Growing up in Charleston, Verkamp saw life beyond the borders. While a college student at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, she traveled to Honduras to work with the Missionaries of Charity for six weeks and credits this trip as being “life changing.” Since then, Verkamp has journeyed back eight times to Central America to work at a Franciscan orphanage that provides scholarships to Guatemalan girls.

For the past two years, Verkamp has served as the Life Teen coordinator and youth minister at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers. This fall she is following her passion and is pursuing a master’s degree in social work with a concentration on global practice at Boston College.

“I realized that the social justice issues were what I was thriving on,” said Verkamp, 25, daughter of Deacon Mark and Tracy Verkamp. “I want to create relationships with the children and teens I work with and let them know I care and want them to succeed.”

Which saint would you like to meet and why?

“I would want to meet Blessed Mother Teresa because I know I could learn a lot from her. She fully understood what it meant to see Christ in others and she lived out her mission of serving the poorest of the poor.”

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