Never Alone, No Matter What

Kiara Ríos-Burrows

St. Colomba’s | Suwanee

Kiara Ríos-Burrows grew up in a fast-growing Anglo- Catholic parish where South Forsyth, Gwinnett, and Fulton counties meet. St. Colomba’s emphasized ministry to children and teenagers, and that’s what attracted her parents and quickly drew more than 1000 members.

At St. Columba’s, Ríos-Burrows heard a message that God’s love is for everyone no matter what, and was encouraged to ask hard questions and find the answers in Christ. At a church that claims to be “where love is found, all are named, and hearts are freed to change the world,” Ríos-Burrows has found her voice.

“Even though you may feel like it, you’re never alone, and this community will love you no matter what, and will always support you in everything that you do, and we’ll be here for you in your darkest times,” she said. “Almost everyone has a story of hardship, so it’s really important to listen and hear them out. Because you can really find solace and comfort knowing that everyone’s hurting, but everyone is on your side and can help you.”

Speaking up on behalf of her generation, including those struggling with mental health issues, gives Ríos-Burrows a sense of value and purpose. She finished high school and started college in 2022, with plans to become a psychotherapist.

“I feel a need to advocate more for teens because when you bottle all that stuff inside, it can really be detrimental to who you are as an adult,” she said. “Because if you don’t seek help for things that you’re going through now, how are you going to do that in the future with really bad problems like addiction? Being able to open up about it now helps us to open up about it later, and to help others open up too.”

Ríos-Burrows’ leadership skills sprung forth at St. Columba’s and through youth programs through the Diocese of Atlanta. She served at Happenings and other youth events, and appeared on a podcast with Holle Tubbs, youth missioner for the diocese.

“We are the future. We are the now,” says Ríos-Burrows. “We will be the next leaders and politicians, and it’s important to be heard and give those opinions. We have insightful things to say and wise things to say.”