Graced by God
Sydnie Perkins ’16, MS ’20 fulfilled a life-long dream when she released her first solo CD, “I Love You Lord,” a collection of spiritual music and songs. It’s a goal that few achieve.
Perkins, on-campus recruitment counselor and employer relations specialist for the college’s GriffCenter, attributes her success to St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy founders Amy Betros HON ’09 and the late Norm Paolini ’69, HON ’09. Perkins is a former resident of St. Luke’s and a graduate of Our Lady of Hope Home School. The non-profit mission founded in the Catholic tradition on the East Side of Buffalo cares for those who feel abandoned by society.
Perkins was the first baby to reside at St. Luke’s with her mother, Michelle Spikes, after it opened in August of 1994.
“When my grandmother (Perkins calls Amy Betros her grandmother) met my mother, she was pregnant with me, had just lost her mother at a young age and had fallen into a vicious cycle of misery and risky behavior,” says Perkins. “My grandmother told her, “If you come stay with me at St. Luke’s, we will raise Sydnie together.”
Her upbringing at the mission included a strong education, spirituality and plenty of music.
Paolini taught her how to sing. “I remember Uncle Norm playing his guitar and singing when I was a baby,” she says. He played everywhere for people. He realized that his voice was a gift that brought comfort and calm.”
Soon Perkins realized she too had that gift, and began to share it with others. As a child she performed at the Lancaster Opera House. Today she sings at weddings, funerals, graduations, masses, parties and in theatrical performances. Perkins most recently performed in the Odyssey at Artpark.
“God has been training me all my life to use my voice and my example,” says Perkins. “I hope that people listen to the CD and are open to whatever God has to say to them.”
Today, Perkins’ mother is a successful business owner. She runs Maasai Consignment Boutique on East Delavan Avenue. Perkins is eternally grateful to Betros and Paolini for being a family to her and her mother when they needed it the most. In fact, “I Love You Lord” is dedicated to Paolini, who passed away in April at the age of 71.
“I Love You Lord” is available at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy; Alive Christian Bookstore on Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo; Benders Christian Store and St. Gregory the Great Catholic Store in Williamsville; Beacon Center Bookstore in Niagara Falls and online here.