“I want to join this church, this is amazing,” Leilani “Lani” Cantu excitingly declared to me. As a young child, Lani’s mother Adriana Cantu involved Lani in the Salvation Army. After hearing Lieutenant Aguirre’s words that wholeheartedly touched her, Lani decided she wanted to be a part of the Salvation Army.
The School of Music Program provided by The Salvation Army allowed Lani the privilege to advance her music skills on the trumpet through classes offered in brass. She was also granted the opportunity to learn a second instrument through guitar lessons. Through this remarkable music program, she attended the Regional Salvation Army Music Program in Corpus Christi, Texas. After completing the music program Lani was presented a certificate and scholarship to attend the Salvation Texas Youth Music Conservatory Camp Hoblitzelle in Waxahachie, Texas. Lani excelled in camp. She participated in various musical classes. She was awarded a medal for Girls Chorus Award TYMI 2017 and Ballentine Chorus Award Senior Conservatory 2017.
The Salvation Army’s first officers arrived in 1921. The arrival was the start of almost 100 years of successful community service The Salvation Army church assists the poor, homeless, and any person seeking religious services. The program also offers shelter, meals, a family thrift store, rent assistance, and clothing and household goods for people in need in Laredo. Additionally, it is known for Christmas charity activities, disaster relieve, and provides assistance to the community who are ill and elderly.
The Salvation Army relies on support from the community, employees, volunteers, and its partnership with United Way of Laredo. United Way of Laredo provides funding to The Salvation Army. The resources provided go straight towards their community and family centered programs.
Through the assistance of The Salvation Army, Lani improved her instrumental skills. She progressed from the 13th to the 6th chair in the Martin High School band. The greatest impact Lani experienced was her gain of spiritual formation through her involvement in The Salvation Army Church. She strongly believes that through the youth group, participants experience new things that touch hearts with the work of God.
“The first time I came here, I cried.” She explained. Lani has first handedly experienced the work of God that touched her heart. She credits The Salvation Army Church for helping her overcome her depression in middle school. She explained she became very disconnected from her family and friends, but The Salvation Army helped pull her out of her state of depression.
Without The Salvation Army, Lani believes she would not be the confident and cheerful person that she is. She credits the program for instilling confidence in her. She strongly hopes that more individuals will be involved in the program, so there can be more Salvation Army Soldiers setting a good example for the community.