Joel’s Life and Legacy (BIO)


Raised in a strong Christian home in a tough Miami neighborhood Joel grew up surrounded by gangs, crime and violence but never got involved with it. He just lived amongst it and learned the dynamics of it. At 16, Joel's best friend, his father, died. Through this tragedy Joel realized that many kids do not even have a father, so he committed his life to making a difference in the culture he loved. Joel always said,


"I love God and I love Hip-Hop, in that order, so I put the two things I love together."

At 26, Joel learned about Miami Youth for Christ's mission to share Christ with youth outside the church. Thus, the Catalyst Hop-Hop outreach was birthed to offer an alternative message of hope and seeks to be a “catalyst” for positive life change and prevention/intervention in the lives of at-risk youth in Miami-Dade County. Catalyst offers youth a safe space to come and develop their talents, as well as to build relationships with mentors and peers.

Joel's life was busy with a growing ministry but little time to search for a wife he had saved himself for. But in 2009 at the age of 34, Joel was blessed to meet the woman of his dreams, Vivian Perea. A whirlwind romance, Joel and Vivian met and married within six months. Joel became an instant father to a beautiful 10-year-old daughter, Havana. Over the next seven years Joel and Vivian partnered in ministry to raise up a team of staff and volunteers. Because Joel poured his life into raising up leaders from within the program, Catalyst will continue to grow and thrive in his absence.

Miami for Christ is committed to caring out Joel's vision to turn the entire face of hip-hop towards Jesus Christ.