I’m sure many people wonder, what is the result of our efforts? What happens when I give my time to CERI, or when I send my money to some far away land… is it all worth it? Frankly, many times even for the people in the field, myself included, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel or even changes in the lives of youth after so much effort… but then there are days when you get a glimpse of hope and you find the strength to continue.
One of these glimpses of hope was the graduation ceremony we organized for the 40 youth graduating CERI's Transitional Care program this year. Together with the youth, we were able to look back and see their progress, compare how they were then and now. Some of the youth said that being at the end of the ninth grade was very scary (the age when youth age out of orphanages and are sent "home" to fend for themselves). “What will happen next? Will I be able to make it? I have no plans.” They all had so many worries; the future seemed so grim. But... with the help of their social workers and CERI volunteers, these youth found a school, a place to live, and courage to move forward.
Looking at the youth now, we are so proud. Let me tell you about some of them:
Petru is an orphan (a child whose parents are deceased). His parents died when he was very young. He was very shy, with many worries, and only hoped to finish trade school and then maybe find a job in another country. But now he is a student at the University and is studying Civil Engineering. He has grown to be one of CERI's trusted volunteers, often assuming leadership roles.
Corina was a social orphan. Her mother died when she was six, but while her dad was still living, he was an alcoholic and unable to care for her. After becoming a Christian, Corina helped her father stop drinking. This year Corina entered the University, the Academy of Economics, and has recently married a Christian young man.
Nicu never thought about finishing school; he did not see the value of studying. But with much encouragement, he finished high school, passed the difficult end-of-year exam and is now passionately studying his second year in law school.
As a CERI caseworker serving the Transitional Care kids in Moldova, I now know that we can safely let go; I know our kids can make it on their own. We've taught our youth what we can, nurtured them through difficult times, and loved them no matter what. The road may be a long one in CERI's Transitional Care program, but it's a fruitful one.
Thank you all for being part of this journey!
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Director of Development