By Alex Popa
Irena Riley was born in New York and now lives in Pennsylvania. She was born to Haitian immigrant parents and she was a first-generation Haitian child raised in America. According to her, it wasn’t easy for her family to come to the States, and she had a hard time growing up among strangers. However, despite the hardships, Irena took her people’s resilience and pride to heart and became a better person.
She’s happy and proud to be of Haitian heritage, and she fully identifies with the joy and happiness of Haitian culture. She’s currently working in STEM but is also a translator and interpreter for the Haitian community. This is how she gives back to her beloved Haiti!
Work and Aspirations
Irena studied at Millersville University and is currently working in STEM. However, her dream lies in the creative sphere. She secretly aspires to act in a Broadway production, and she’s going to do everything it takes to get there. She’s also very proud of the fact that she can play the piano and sing, two aspects that might help her with her dream.
Irena also wants to learn two more languages as she herself admits that would be a significant accomplishment for her. Leadership also calls to her, and she yearns to take on more responsibilities at work and improve her skills. Evolution doesn’t come easy for anyone, but she knows she’s ready for it.
In the next 12 months, she wants to restart the running routine that she had to abandon before the pandemic. Physical health is very important to her, which only adds to her charm and persona.
Supporting Haiti Through Her Platform
Irena hopes to support Haiti more than she does now. With a platform, she’d discuss health equity, environmental restoration, spiritual and psychological health, foster care, and other sensitive topics. She believes Haiti needs to hear all this if the country is to improve and provide more opportunities for its children to evolve.
Currently, she’s working as a translator and interpreter for Haitians but is also doing social work in the Haitian community. She encourages young Haitian children to make their voices heard and work through organizations to help their country rise from the ashes.
She wants to empower people, make them feel welcome, and understand that they’re stronger than anyone gives them credit for. Here’s what she has to say: “I would like to make my desired audience to feel heard, seen, and know that they are not alone. I want my discussion to leave them feeling empowered and make their voices heard.”
Empowerment is hard to come by, but if Irena Riley and others like her keep fighting the good fights, Haiti’s revival will no longer be a dream. It’ll become a reality one day, and her efforts won’t be forgotten.
You can contact Irela Riley and show your support for her at @zileirena and @yogirena5 on Instagram. Both accounts are hers as she hopes to make a difference through her social media presence!