From refugee to Canadian citizen, Andreea’s role as a Life Skills Support Worker at Reception House has allowed her to pursue her passion of welcoming others to Canada. Andreea has been voted team captain in this year’s Ride for Refuge and is motivated to reach her goal of $5,000. We spoke to Andreea about her journey, her life in Canada, and her role at Reception House.
For Andreea, life started in communist Romania. “My dad was doing military service. The only way to ensure his safety was to flee” she recalls. Andreea was just two years old when her family ended up in a refugee camp in Hungary. “My parents didn’t know where to go, but when my dad saw a picture of the Rocky Mountains, he felt Canada was the answer”
Sponsored by a Group of five at a Kitchener based Baptist Church, Andreea and her family were welcomed to Canada and offered a place to stay by a family of eight in their small apartment. The Istrofor family (Andreea’s maiden name) remains in contact with their sponsors all these years later, sending a turkey every Christmas to show their appreciation and thanks.
When coming to Canada, Andreea’s parents were keen on pursuing opportunities, particularly education for their children. Andreea was the first person in her family to complete a post-secondary education. Like so many newcomer families, it was her parents dream that they weren’t able to realize for themselves.
“My mom did end up going back to school though” she shares proudly “And now has two college diploma certificates!”.
Fast forward to today and Kitchener is the only home Andreea remembers. In her role as a Life Skills Support Worker at Reception House, Andreea is helping those that come from a background of displacement everyday, and taking her commitment to our mission one step further by leading a team in the upcoming Ride for Refuge.
“In the past, I had dreamed of giving back to those who were in the same situation as us. I thought that I could only make a difference or serve them if I went to another country and helped build a school, or teach English for a week. Little did I know, that there was an organization called Reception House Waterloo Region in Kitchener, that supports the people I have felt called to serve, which are (Government Assisted) refugees from all over the world”.
In her role she assists with children’s programs and outings, as well as orienting families to the temporary residence at 101 David St, practicing English, encouraging safe play and managing starter kit donations.
“I feel so much love from the kids at the house… I want my work here to help the next generation flourish”
Recently the Salvation Army donated 12 children’s bikes and helmets to families moving from our 101 David St. temporary residence to permanent housing. This donation has helped children get to and from school in half the time it takes to walk; however, there were not enough bikes to share with everyone. This is one reason why Andreea will be partaking as Team Captain in Ride for Refuge 2019. To raise funds to supplement donations so that each child can be equipped equitably. She is highly motivated to reach her personal goal of raising $5,000 – WOW!
“By participating in the RIDE, I’m speaking for people who have little or no voice and who often get left behind or ignored. And by fundraising, I’m supporting an organization that is bringing hope and refuge to those same people.”
Visit the Ride for Refuge website to learn more about the fundraiser.
Andreea plays with newcomer children at our temporary Residence.