the cool factor


India, February 2014.  Twelve days start to finish, many of them long travel days, and the rest actively loving people in India.

Two of our eleven team members were high school seniors from Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, CA.  Anthony and Peyton.  There was something magnificent about them from the beginning, but really blossomed while in India.  I narrowed it down to one thing they lacked.

“The Cool Factor”.

I’m not saying these are not cool kids.  They’re hysterically funny, attractive, smart, honest, engaging, hip, knowledgeable, artistic, extraordinary young people.  But they weren’t “too cool” you know?  Too cool to dance.  Too cool to hold hands.  Too cool to pray.  Too cool to love.

They jumped off the plane with both feet.  All in , and fully immersed before we could even locate our baggage.  I can in all honesty say they never once said “no” to any opportunity.  Whether they knew it was an opportunity or not.



Anthony Del Secco

Within minutes of meeting them, their excitement inspired me.  But after watching them in India, I was inspired to do better.   My ideas of love exploded and I wanted to love more authentically, more fully, like they did.  To laugh harder, sing louder, and dance longer.  To grab hold of every moment and wring it out of it’s last drop.  To exude wordless evidence of a broken heart.   To cry when I had to leave for home.  To long for a return to India while still on the jetway.  To walk off the plane with ideas of how I might help even more.

Every group of teens has been uniquely wonderful, I believe hand picked by God, and I wouldn’t trade a single one for the other.

Each one has taught me something more about myself, about God, and about the love of Jesus for all people.


Matchless.  Borderless.  Timeless.  Ageless.  Limitless.  And not too cool.

Love, Valerie

3 responses to “the cool factor”

  1. Terry says:

    Love it! Beautiful kids.

  2. Peyton says:

    I hope you know that we have been just as inspired by you, if not more so. A large part of our excitement came from seeing your genuine passion and sincerity regarding LoveManifest and India in general…I don’t know if I can thank you enough. There are no words to describe this experience and I simply feel blessed that I had the chance to be a part of it!

  3. Stacey Vannucci says:

    Peyton, I am so proud of you and honored to know you! Way to be a princess warrior in God’s army by sharing your love. So so cool. Never stop!!! ❤️ Can’t wait to share with Niall, he will love it. God bless you sweetie!!

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