I lived and worked at Romero House for four months during the summer of 2014. Prior to my internship, I had been part of the Romero community as a volunteer for Kids’ Club and as an English conversation partner for a Romero House resident during my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto.
Volunteering at Romero House and gaining a personal connection with refugees inspired me to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border to work for a summer with Central American migrants. After I returned, I remained involved at Romero and applied for the summer internship because I wanted to learn more about the Canadian refugee system and work more to support refugees in my own community.
As an intern I was a companion to families from Colombia and Angola. I also had the fun job of finding summer camp places for Romero kids and helped to organize the annual Wanda Road Street Party (the best day of the year, in my opinion)!
I have so many wonderful memories of my time at Romero House. One of the most special for me was being present for the birth of my companion’s daughter. This experience moved me because of the trust that my companion had to allow me to be part of such an intimate moment of her life. For me, it illustrated the strength and importance of Romero’s model of accompaniment, companionship, and community.
Right now, I am pursuing a Masters degree in International Relations in London, England, focusing on Latin America and human rights. My experience at Romero House continues to define my thoughts and perspectives. As I study topics such as human rights in Colombia and Mexico, I never reduce issues to academic debates. Rather, I am able to recognize the real human cost of these conflicts in the lives of the refugees that I had the opportunity to walk with at Romero House.
I think that the Romero House internship is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking to challenge themselves at a deeply personal level. Living and working at Romero is not always easy, but I always found it to be rewarding and clarifying for me personally. The diversity of people that is Romero House is what makes us a strong community. Part of the challenge and blessing of working at Romero House is living and working with people from so many different backgrounds with different skills to offer. You will leave Romero House as a more reflective, flexible, and grounded person.