Each year, hundreds of kids go through the Open Door in Crafton Heights and many others take part in the Crafton Heights First United Presbyterian Church youth programs. At both places there is a very good chance they will come in contact with Tim Salinetro.
“When Tim comes into the room, he is someone who is sought after by the children and climbed all over by the kids. He is befriended and trusted by the young adults and the teens,” said Dave Carver, a pastor at Crafton Heights First United Presbyterian Church. “And he is highly regarded and respected by his peers and his elders.
Salinetro was a member of the youth group and participated in programs at the Open Door. When he got to be too old to participate, he began to volunteer.
“I never thought that would be my role (in the church),” said Salinetro. “But I’ve grown into that through the encouragement and guidance of a lot of people.”
Salinetro said he hopes to help the kids build bonds that will get them through the tough middle school and high school years while at the same time giving them experiences they will never forget. Many of those experiences come on the annual youth mission trips and the twice-yearly youth retreats that Salinetro helps to chaperone.
“It’s those memories and those experiences that you hope to build and give those kids,” Salinetro said. “They’ll even message me on Facebook (when they) see something that reminds them of a trip we took.”
Salinetro said every year he thinks his run with the programs might be coming to an end. He said this might be his last year but then he admits with a chuckle that he might be saying that same thing 20 years from now.
“Tim Salinetro is the kind of young man that young people hope to grow up to be and that parents hope their children grow into,” said Carver. “He is an incredible model and mentor for our young people and the world’s a much better place because he’s in it.”