Originally born and raised in California, Rena DeAndrea had no idea what to expect when she arrived in Danville. Her and her husband moved here to plant New Ground church.
“All I knew about Danville before we came is that it was this cute little city that we were called to,” DeAndrea said. “We didn’t come and see the city before we moved here. We just shipped our stuff, pulled our second car and drove across the country.”
When they initially moved, they stayed with friends in North Carolina, but on their first day in the city, they found an apartment, and her husband found a job. They spent their first month commuting back and forth to get everything in order before settling in Danville.
DeAndrea said Danville had a drastically different culture from California, and it took some time to adjust. In California, people operated at breakneck pace.
“California, as a whole, is very fast-paced and very goal-driven,” DeAndrea said. “You work for yourself, you do things for yourself. It is just a little more selfish.”
But, in Danville, she said things were different. A few years ago, her son was sick with the flu and missed a few days of school. A fellow mother sent her a text after not seeing her son just to check in on them.
“It was so foreign for someone to notice those kinds of things that I was a little taken aback by just her kindness,” DeAndrea said. “She noticed, she was intentional about seeing if our cars were there and noticing my son wasn’t on the playground. Those kinds of things, really, are my favorite thing about this city.”
That generous spirit she noticed now plays into her professional life as well. DeAndrea serves as Executive Director for Transitions Pregnancy Solutions, a non-profit center who works with men and women facing unplanned pregnancy.
DeAndrea soon began volunteering for what was, at the time, Little Life Pregnancy Center — the organization is now known as Transitions Pregnancy Solutions.
“Even before I left California, I wanted to volunteer at the local pregnancy center,” DeAndrea said. “When I got here, I met with the director and started volunteering.”
She served on a volunteer basis for about a year while also working with Danville Parks & Recreation before taking on the role of Director of Advancement for the pregnancy center.
“After talking to my husband, praying about it and thinking about it, we decided it was a good choice, so I took that on,” DeAndrea said.
Transitions is a non-profit that works with men and women facing unplanned pregnancy. They offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and mentoring meetings with clients. DeAndrea said “keeping a pulse” on the center is a priority for her, so she continues to do mentoring alongside her busy schedule as director.
“I feel like the minute that I get out of touch with what we do here on the frontlines is the minute that I’m too busy to do my job correctly and adequately,” DeAndrea said. “The best way for me to (stay in touch) is to see it, breathe it, feel it, touch it.”
Her passion for helping these men and women comes from her own life experiences. When she was younger, she and her husband struggled with infertility before having their first child.
“I had my first surgery at the age of 15 and then was told I would never know if I could conceive until I tried,” DeAndrea said.
In addition to that, she spent nearly two years caring for the child of an unplanned pregnancy. They were in the process of adopting the child, but eventually ended up giving custody of him over to his paternal great-grandparents instead.
DeAndrea said these things she has dealt with and been through inspire her to help others in the same boat.
“Parenthood is a gift,” DeAndrea said. “For some people they’re able to schedule it and plan it, but for others, not so much. It’s not something that’s always fun, but it’s something we are gifted to be able to do. I want to share that with others, to be passionate about parenting the next generation, not just existing as a parent.”