He's on a Mission to Help the Poor: Meet Sophomore Julian Rivera

Julian Rivera, a sophomore at NJIT, believes it’s his mission in life to help people: especially poor people living in undeveloped parts of the world.

After his freshman year in high school, Julian travelled to Juarez, Mexico, where he spent the summer building housing for the poor. A year later, he flew to Uganda, Africa, where he visited children in orphanages. And in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he flew to rural Mississippi to help people rebuild the roofs of their houses.

Julian planned to fly to Haiti over winter break. He, along with six other volunteers, aimed to help residents of Lartigue, a town hit by the January earthquake, to rebuild their town. But given the cholera outbreak in Haiti, the trip was cancelled. Julian has made plans, though, to return to Uganda this summer to continue his volunteer work there.  

He is a devout Christian whose good-will trips have all been sponsored by Touch the World Ministries, a nonprofit religious group in Allendale that organizes humanitarian trips.

At NJIT, Julian belongs to Phi Sigma Kappa, a new fraternity whose service projects include adopting a Ugandan child, reading to school children in Newark and charitable fundraising.

“I love to help people,” says Julian, who majors in construction management. “After I graduate, I hope to work for a company that builds housing for the poor. I believe it’s my mission in life to help people. I’ll go wherever the good Lord sends me.”

(By Robert Florida, Office of Strategic Communications)