Rocklin youth learn life lessons on mission trip

Spend time helping less fortunate in SoCal
By: Amanda Calzada, Placer Herald correspondent
-A +A

Saints Peter and Paul Church
Where: 4450 Granite Drive
Phone: (916) 624-5827
Youth minister: Taylor Sims,


One group of Rocklin youth spent part of their summer not playing video games or lazing by the pool, but rather helping others as part of a mission trip sponsored by a local church.

Twenty-five teens and five adults of Saints Peter and Paul Church ventured to San Diego July 5-14 on a mission trip.

“It is always an opportunity to see the goodness, creativity and hope that our young people have and can offer to our broken world,” said Father Stanley Poltorak, who said he values recognition of dignity in each person.

During the trip, the group built a fence, served food to the homeless through St. Vincent de Paul, painted benches and tables, completed yard work at a charter school and organized a vacation Bible school. The Youth Ministry also led discussions and studies on the social teachings of the Catholic faith in conjunction with participating in communal living with other groups.

The team spent a day to relax at the beach together and toured Mission San Juan Capistrano during their stay in San Diego and Southern California.

For two years prior, the Youth Ministry had chosen Great Falls, Mont., as the mission site. San Diego was chosen this year because the program is sponsored by Young Neighbors in Action, or YNIA. Different groups from different parts of the country come together at the site to accommodate the groups. There were two other youth groups present from California and one from Oklahoma joining the Rocklin church.

“Have an open mind and just offer a hand to everyone you meet,” said Charisse Palaad, who just completed her fourth mission trip through Saints Peter and Paul Church and YNIA, a program sponsored and directed by the national nonprofit Center for Ministry Development that works with more than 100 dioceses in the United States and Canada.

Palaad, who has also volunteered through youth group events, Liturgy Committee, Vacation Bible School and catechism teaching, said the mission trips have been her favorite parts of her summers. She most enjoyed meeting and getting to know people, she said.

Past projects of the church include building a house through Habitat for Humanity and teaching English and music in Laos. Stanley says one parishioner journeys to Laos at least once a year to be of service.

Current projects of the parish include sending collected Bibles and funds to Africa through Vacation Bible School, middle school “Edge” students sending funds to mission projects outside the nation and the entire parish community collecting school supplies for needy students in the Rocklin Unified School District.

“Every individual has a different story, a different kind of struggle, a different way to living and that’s okay,” Palaad said.

Those interested in seeing the blog the group maintained during their stay may visit