Online. On-air. In Spanish. In English. Uptown. Downstage. Jon Secada is always on a mission. For the Mission.
At this moment, he’s on the phone. And he’s still working for the Mission — the Mission of St. Francis community center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
OK, so Secada's riding in the back seat of an air-conditioned car, a chauffeur whisking him between appointments. It's late August in South Florida and Secada may not even break a sweat, literally. It may sound cushy, but Secada is working.
“The Mission — it is a small operation but they do a big job,” says the 48-year-old entertainer, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has devoted much attention to the Mission for five years.
The winner of multiple Grammy awards also admires the Mission because “it’s home-grown. But aggressive. I like that.”
No wonder. It’s a lot like Jon Secada. Self-made, independent and disciplined, Secada is one of those generous donors who holds the nonprofits he supports to the same high expectations to which he holds himself. The man and the Mission will connect in a very special way on Sept. 11.
A family of volunteers
That's when his wife, Mari, their two children — Mikaela, 11, and Jon Henri, 8 — and Secada will help the Mission staff distribute food packages at the facility in the Las Olas neighborhood. Besides meals, the lean and mean community machine provides addiction and recovery assistance, homeless outreach and family counseling.
It is a 24/7 center with a 360-degree compassion compass. Still, volunteering on the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance makes a difference. “All our lives changed that day,” Secada says.
Like many creative individuals, the songwriter turned to his art to express his feelings immediately following the 2001 tragedy. He may be best known for sizzling love songs, such as his platinum hit “Just Another Day.” But mere weeks after 9/11, he wrote “The Last Goodbye,” an anthem of reconciliation and reaffirmation. Translated into “El Ultimo Adiós,” a music video was recorded “We Are the World”-style by a pantheon of Spanish-speaking stars ranging from Ricky Martin to Jennifer Lopez to José Feliciano.
Next: On call — Devoting time on Sept. 11. >>