When Aliquippa Impact’s summer program was just beginning, Joel and Chelsea Repic were in search of volunteers. They asked their college friend, Andrea Dillard, if she would be interested in teaching. Andrea accepted the invitation in 2007 and taught social studies, vocabulary, and other academics to the 5 and 6 class. Later, in the summer of 2009, she served as a camp director, checking in on teachers, speaking with parents, and performing other administrative duties.
Andrea describes her experience with Aliquippa Impact as life changing. She says, “It was the first time I saw how powerful God is-I saw the Holy Spirit move in people. It was like the hands and feet of Jesus to me-just a really practical way to serve people.”
Now Andrea and her husband, Jay, live in Atlanta. Andrea is a 6th grade language arts teacher. Her past experiences have fueled in her a passion for educational equity. She seeks to provide equal opportunities for students who live in poverty. Jay is a marriage and family therapist. He works at a private practice as well as a non-profit counseling service called, Formation Counseling Service. The organization partners with churches to bring counseling services back to the church. Jay works with clients who may not otherwise be able to afford counseling and professional care.
Even after her camp experience, Andrea continues to keep in contact with Joel and Chelsea Repic, Steve Rossi, John and Gao Foua Jordan, and others. They tell Andrea and Jay news about the program and about Andrea’s former campers. Andrea and Jay support Aliquippa Impact by donating monthly and praying. Andrea says, “I told Jay how much AI has meant to me and has really made an impression on how I approach people-even how I approach my job now. I work in the inner city of Atlanta and it has helped me understand people in a way that I didn’t before. All that to say, I really believe that everyone at Aliquippa Impact is doing God’s work. I believe that God is working there and that the people who are called there are not called to glamorous type work. I know it’s a lot of hard work. So I know what the money is worth going there.” Jay agrees, “I’ve gotten to know some of the leaders there and I trust them. I believe they are kingdom-minded and I feel very comfortable putting resources there. The authenticity of the people working there is something that really stands out to me and makes me feel confident, encouraged, and excited that God is using people that are real and honest. Whatever they are thinking or feeling they are not afraid to say when things are hard. They are not looking to glamorize things. That stands out to me.”
Looking back, Andrea remembers that although change happened in people it was not always immediate. She says, “There was a young man-at the time he was 18- and his name was Abdul. It’s really amazing to me how everyone embraced Abdul-no matter what he did, no matter what he said. He became our friend that summer and he just hung out with the staff. I remember all of us praying for him very often. Even in the summers after we prayed for him. And Joel has always kept me up with what was going on with Abdul. “Abdul became a Christian years after summer camp. Andrea says, “I realize that the summers I was there I did not see a lot of quick change, but Abdul becoming a believer- those stories continue to live on. That’s what I love hearing about and that’s why I love supporting Aliquippa. They are doing the really hard sowing and not always seeing a whole lot of reaping. So when they do see reaping it’s amazing, and spectacular, and very miraculous. You can see the difference in individuals. It may not change an entire city overnight, but you saw in specific people each summer that God was moving in their hearts. “