CFNA Associate of the Month
CFNA’s largest on-going Christ-centered service program among refugees is its After-School Tutoring (AST) program. It brings in an average of 80 client visits every week during its Tuesday and Thursday sessions.
With its current Coordinator moving into the role of Executive Director, CFNA needed a tutoring supervisor for its Thursday sessions. The search rather quickly narrowed to one of its Thursday volunteers, Ms. Klea Cepele. At age 24, Klea is presently preparing for entrance exams to be enrolled in the St. Louis University School of Medicine, having recently finished her B.S. in Biology from UMSL.
It was just a year ago that Klea first become acquainted with CFNA and its AST program after having heard about it from Mrs. Jennifer Janssen, the program’s Tuesday supervisor. Klea is an immigrant from Albania and a devout Christian and a member of the Greek Orthodox community. She grew up in a religiously pluralistic environment where Christians and Muslims co-exist. She loves engaging with people from different cultures who do not speak English as their first language, and she loves challenges as well! For these reasons and more, the AST program has been a near perfect fit for Klea, who easily engages with refugee kids struggling with English, as well as their own personal issues. She finds that her patience and flexibility are often tested, but always in an environment of Christian love, sharing and service.
Having arrived in the US in 2014, Klea confides that it was her family and friends that helped her negotiate the difficulties of adjusting to American culture. For her, CFNA engagement has been very rewarding because, “I have experienced the same thing as these kids, having done three years of medical studies in Albania, and having to start all over again to get into medical school here in the US. I know what it means to go through culture shock and adapt!”
We wish Klea the very best as she continues to provide servant leadership for the Thursday evening tutoring program at the Peace Center, in an environment of Christ-centered love and concern for refugee kids.
By Rev. Stanish Stanley
with Rev. Allan Buckman