It takes courage to stand up and share the truth, to share MY truth, even when it seems like nobody is listening.
"Children are meant to be seen, not heard."
For the first nine years of my life, I lived with an alcoholic mother and older sister in a small, cold, and empty apartment in Russia.
At times, I slept on the street.
At times, I stole food.
I knew I couldn’t do this all of my life.
I was desperate to find a new home… to be a part of a family.
So, at the age of nine, I decided to enter an orphanage.
But, blending into this new family at the orphanage came with its own set of challenges.
I was told to forget about my mom and sister… to dismiss any semblance of family, as I knew it, so I did.
I was told to keep my mouth shut, so I did.
I was too afraid to speak up when other kids were abused and beaten, so I didn’t.
I was left all alone… stripped of my voice.
Folk singing helped me rediscover my voice.
A voice that traveled 5,500 miles across the world and into the heart of a family who chose me.
A family who gave me a sense of belonging that I desperately needed.
Even though I had found this loving and supporting home, there was still a critical piece of the puzzle missing.
Today, I am 25 years old and I’m realizing that through sharing my story I am able to fill in the missing pieces of my puzzle. Book me as a speaker for your next event by choosing one of the following programs: