Alumnus Dedicates Life to Service: The Father’s Heart Foundation and El Salvador Orphans

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by: Haley Brink '18

Before college, Jeff Luehm was drawn to history, social movements, and literature. At Aquinas, he appropriately found himself studying education with a major in history and a minor in language arts.

“Aquinas really helped me explore those topics more and gave me a cross-disciplinary perspective of global issues,” said Jeff. After graduating in 2006, he held on to the Dominican pillar of service and joined the Peace Corps in El Salvador for two years. Upon his return, he continued his journey of service by spending the next eight years back in the U.S. as a houseparent at a residential school in Pennsylvania.

Service will continue to be a major theme in his life as he dedicates the next years of his life to the Father’s Heart Foundation in El Salvador, where he will be working closely with the founders to raise funds.

“I think that AQ prepared me for a life of service through the values it instills in its students. The four Dominican charisms of prayer, study, community, and service are foundational to the character of Aquinas, and I tried to carry those lessons with me.”

He will be moving with his wife and two young children to El Salvador to continue serving others.

“We will be working with the founders of The Father's Heart Foundation to raise the funds needed for the next phase of the project and begin to bring kids into a family-like home with houseparents. In the long run, we plan to be totally self-sustaining through an aquaponics agriculture system that will support the operating costs of our organization.”

The History Department was influential in his life and will continue to change the way he looks at the world.

“The AQ history department made me a more critical thinker, a more informed citizen, and provided the foundation for the rest of my life and career. The liberal arts education is immensely valuable and provides a foundation for more than just a lucrative career, it provides the basis for a thoughtful, meaningful life.

The History Department also prepared me intellectually for that experience in ways I could not have imagined. I often think back to my historiography course with Dr. Jason Duncan, in particular. That course helped me understand that historical interpretation of events is incredibly complex and needs to be critically analyzed by an engaged and informed citizen.”

From Jeff Luehm:
We are looking to form partnerships with individuals and faith communities who believe in this vision. To any reader that has a heart for Latin America or orphan care and wants to invest their money in a sustainable initiative that seeks to empower and employ Salvadorans, we would love your support. Anyone that would like more information can check out our website: and contact us directly via email at