At age 21, Juan Gallo bought his first house and made a good living as a car salesman, but something was missing. Juan Gallo had a heart for ministry, and he felt God leading him to do more with his life. So he decided to come to Trinity Florida to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry.
“I never thought I could do college work,” Gallo said. “I dropped out of high school when I was 16. I didn’t go to college till I was 25. But if you have a sense of calling in your life, and you know that it’s something bigger than you, but you’re not exactly sure what it is, you just need to pursue it.”
Completing that bachelor’s degree gave Juan confidence, and it opened doors for him to plant a new church. He was seeing needs in the church that he wasn’t equipped to address, so he decided to pursue a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity Florida while continuing his ministry in the church.
HEART 2 HEART
Today, Gallo runs a successful nonprofit organization in South Florida. He’s the CEO and executive director of Heart2Heart Outreach, which cares for the aging population in South Florida. This spring semester, Gallo will be teaching a brand new class at TIU-Florida in “Elder Care.”
“Teaching is a passion, and elder care is a passion for me,” Gallo said. “In South Florida, we have the largest population of elderly people, probably anywhere in the United States. And in the next nine years, we will have the largest population of seniors than ever before in the history of the United States—more than children. I think people need to know about that. I think churches need to know about that. I think we need to do something about that, so I’m passionate about teaching about it.”
“If you have a sense of calling in your life and you know that it’s bigger than you, you just need to pursue it.”
FORMATION AT TIU FLORIDA
Gallo credits his success in all these areas to the training he received at Trinity Florida from professors who have become his mentors and colleagues.
“They weren’t just professors; they were friends. They were people that I did ministry with. And it was the same thing in the Counseling program. They are now colleagues who refer people to me for counseling,” Gallo said.
Pursuing two college degrees while working a full-time job, with a family, is challenging. Gallo understands the hesitancy many people have to finish their college education.
“Throughout my whole undergraduate program, I was like, ‘I’m going to quit. This is just too much. I have four children, a full-time job, planting a church. I’m not doing this.’ And so, it was this constant struggle, but you complain and then you work at the same time,” Gallo said.
Gallo gives this advice: “The idea is to keep moving, just one step at a time. Sometimes, you barely take a step, you’re kind of crawling, but if God has placed something in your life, then you need to move toward it. I was listening to God saying, ‘I want you to get educated. You know you need to do this, because I want you to teach. I want you to show other people that you can do it.’ You ask God to give you strength, and by his grace, you get it done. So, I would just tell anybody, don’t give up.”
“They weren’t just professors; they were friends. . . . They are now colleagues who refer people to me for counseling.”