Steve Valdez is a Vanguard University alumni with over fourteen years of youth ministry experience, a former Christian rap artist from the 90s into the early millennia, a crafty DJ, a high school theater student with honors, a health care worker, and a maintenance man for three years.
Steve Valdez has an eclectic repertoire of experience, education, and culture that has made his position as Library Assistant at Vanguard University an active and lively one.
“What I like most is the ability to fill my day with organizing knowledge and because of that it allows me to stay creative in my personal life, because you get to see all these wonderful works of – not just literature – but ideals, systems, history – and of course my favorite, history,” said Valdez.
Students know him as creative, encouraging, and intellectual. At the Vanguard library, his voice is heard answering a student’s question or leading them to find their desired item of interest with a vigor of hospitality and care.
“I know that I’m not a counselor, but just being able to hear how they feel about classes…sometimes I get to ask brief questions and some students open-up with raw feelings of what they’re going through. It can be positive or negative,” said Valdez. “That’s what intrigues me the most because these students are working to become our leaders.”
During his years at Vanguard, he has aided in creating invigorating venues to inspire students and help them grow as effective leaders in the world. Every semester, Valdez has worked to expand the spoken-word and “Urban Storytellers” events so that more students can discover talents they may not even know they have and “get their feet wet” in a safe and encouraging environment.
On Thursday, an event called, “Spoken Stories” will be showcased for the very first time through the Valdez and the Vanguard library staff. “Spoken Stories” will feature spoken-word and music from our very own Vanguard students.
Freshman Cystal Pimental, said about Valdez, “I had never met anyone older who is still passionate about spoken word, who is able to continue to do it and inspire students.”
Pimental had a rough childhood growing up and was always very vocal about it. Spoken-word, however, made it possible for her to express her innermost passions. “It makes me more vulnerable and is a reminder of why we all have something in common, of why you have community and need to seek that community.”
“I feel it speaks to all ages and languages as well. As long as it is showing God’s love for people. That’s why I continue to do it. I would definitely say it takes a leap of faith – and there will be people to support you. It takes three-seconds of courage,” said Pimental.
The crafting of an art piece like a spoken word takes a conjugation of thoughts and a formulation of them through critical, crafty, and intelligent ways that help to connect individuals together as a community. Valdez said that all these things happen in small events like this.
Valdez said that there are so many Vanguard students with a voice, so many individuals that should be the next studied artist and writer that people look up to for inspiration and godly wisdom. “There is something special when you call on those who are talented or who don’t realize they are talented and offer an opportunity to test the waters – or just be an observer and see it,” said Valdez.
Pimental shared that she wants the Holy Spirit to speak through her as she performs at the upcoming “Spoken Stories” event. The words spoken will be a shout-out from the heart that she hopes others will relate to and be moved by, getting to know God through it.
Valdez said, “It plants a seed. The library should be a place where every person, or patron as we like to call them, comes to a place where the seed is planted to share with the people they meet. That is what we’re trying to be with our events, proactive!”
“Spoken Stories” will be held at the Campus Mall (VUSC letters) at 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 27th. Submissions are still open and on-the-spot submissions are welcomed.