Community Gem: Diane Mengos a blessing for Miami County youth

Diane Mengos, right, a youth minister for St. Boniface and St. Mary's churches in Piqua, has been working with youth for more than 25 years.
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Diane Mengos, right, a youth minister for St. Boniface and St. Mary's churches in Piqua, has been working with youth for more than 25 years.

PIQUA — Diane Mengos, a youth minister for St. Boniface and St. Marys churches in Piqua, is seen as a blessing for area youth.

Mengos worked 25 years with teens as a Catholic school teacher and youth minister. She now serves all ages in the Piqua parishes. She and her husband also spent 10 years in respite foster care services, an experience that helped her to understand the challenges children face in and outside of the church. She also has served on a cold shelter team and in a VA guardianship program.

“Most church workers experience ministry as spilling over into all aspects of life, so I’m not sure where my job stops and my volunteering begins, but I like it all,” Mengos said.

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Mengos was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Jim Linthicum of Piqua.

“Diane has a passion for being not only a passionate teacher and minister, but she also has a love for young people … (She) is one of the most positive people I have ever met,” Linthicum said.

“I am surprised and honored. Jim is a wonderful member of our church and a great dad. I called him right away to say, ‘Thanks for making my day!’ Mengos said of her nomination. “I also feel unworthy; in my church (about 1,000 households), there are some amazing volunteers. Many are busy with family life plus they are committed volunteers. Others are retired and their new full-time dedication is a service ministry. They are inspiring heroes to me.”

The COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges for community service programs, but they continued. The regular Bingo activities at nursing homes became collection activities for nursing home gifts with students sorting and delivering “bountiful gifts,” Mengos said.

Other activities included creating Valentines and gifts for church neighbors and making flannel blankets for Miami County Animal Shelter canines. “Most importantly, through these experiences, we helped our kids to feel the fun of ‘loving your neighbor’ as Jesus taught,” Mengos said.

“Diane is a Community Gem due to her radiant joy and random acts of kindness along with her love for children and the Catholic faith,” Linthicum said. “Diane is a passionate family person...and it shows in her smiles and radiant joy to all.”