Once December hits, it’s usually full-on holiday madness. Anyone and everyone is obsessed with finding the perfect gift to give. But what about those of us who are focused on giving back to the world and the community, rather than giving gifts? This year, we want to focus on giving back as well as giving to each other. So, in addition to bringing you our annual gift guide, we’re also profiling our amazing Ro’Heroes who are giving back this month.
We’ve got tons of charity rides coming up to support causes that mean a lot to us, and we’d like to highlight the badass, charitable Ro’heroes who are making them happen. So, without further ado, let us introduce you to Lidia Borlean, one of our amazing Ro’heroes this month who is riding in Utrecht on December 22nd to support Rays of Hope.
Join Lidia’s ride on December 22nd 1PM in Utrecht.
Hello Lidia! Happy December! We’re so excited to have you organising a Charity Ride this month. Could you introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m Lidia. I’ve come from Romania to do my studies here in The Netherlands. I have lived in Utrecht for a year, and I love spending time doing my favourite activities: cycling, working out, reading and spontaneously screaming every time I see dogs around, especially when they are carried in a basket on the bike, because they are just too cute!
We can never resist those dogs either. Too cute indeed! So we love that you’re putting together this Charity Ride. Can you give us some background on the charity and what they do?
Before moving to the Netherlands, I volunteered for Rays of Hope during my bachelors in psychology. The Rays of Hope association is a non-profit organisation established in Brasov, Romania that has more than 100 beneficiaries, including children and teenagers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). I assisted in some therapy sessions and got to work alongside the therapist, sometimes individually and other times with groups of children, all the while learning the process of long-term therapy like this. All these children need professional attention over the years from therapy sessions to physical, movement and coordination sessions to art and music therapy. Each year, Rays of Hope organises events to bring awareness to autism spectrum disorders and raise fund for the children and families who cannot afford the cost of therapy. My Charity Ride will raise funds for the children diagnosed with ASD and cover the costs of their therapy, as these sessions are the most important way they can recover, learn or integrate all the skills that typical children have: speaking, reading, learning, playing and socialising with other children.
It sounds like a fantastic cause. We’re so glad you’ve brought it to our attention! What does this charity mean to you specifically? Why did you choose to ride for Rays of Hope?
This charity means so much to me because my love and attachment to these children has no limit. Also, volunteering for Rays of Hope helped develop my interest in autism spectrum disorders, which also led me to choose to study neuroscience here in the Netherlands. I chose this charity because these children are in need of support, not only financially, but also emotionally, and you can see how much they work during their sessions and how, sometimes, it becomes exhausting, but they never give up.
That’s lovely, and it’s so cool that it brought you here to Holland in a way! Apart from your Charity Ride, are you doing anything else to support Rays of Hope?
Actually, yes! This summer, I went back to Brasov and participated in an annual event called‘’Brasov Heroes’’ that is dedicated to social NGOs that aim to raise funds for a number of social projects, including Rays of Hope. This event was an obstacle race, and it was my third year in a row participating alongside children from Rays of Hope. They were running and having so much fun, so it was really thrilling to be part of this event.
What a fun idea! It’s great to get involved financially and on the ground. Are there any other causes that are important to you?
I was also a volunteer for the Romanian Anti- AIDS Association (A.R.A.S.) for a short period of time, bringing sexual education and awareness about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases to teenagers in Brasov. Because of my boundless love for animals, I could easily see myself saving animals in the Amazon or in danger anywhere else.
You really are a true Ro’Hero! How would you recommend others find causes they love and get involved?
I believe that everyone has a soft spot, maybe deep down in their hearts. If you volunteer for any NGO in your area, you’ll take the first steps toward discovering your true passion. It’s also helpful to find a personal connection to a cause, find something that resonates with your own experience, values and way of thinking. Facebook makes it so much easier these days, giving you suggestions for a number of causes all around the world.
Oh, that’s a great idea. We never thought of just perusing what’s online that way. Alright, final question: what does giving back mean to you?
Giving back means actually gaining 10x times more! It’s really soul food for me to give back and just be able to take part in changing or helping someone in some way. Needless to say, over the years I think that the act of ‘giving’ became a habit and part of my routine, as well as a simple ‘why not if I can?’ question. It’s just a way to show how much I appreciate people that are dealing with tough situations. I think these families and ASD children are true heroes! So I can confidently say that I will never stop giving back, even if it’s just a simple smile.