Stories

Couple reunites after six years

When Muhyidin came to Chattanooga in 2016, he made a decision. If his wife couldn’t join him within five years, he would go back home. He had left his country, a newlywed, in 2013 as one of hundreds of thousands fleeing ongoing conflict and ethnic struggle in his home city of Darfur. He and Arafa… Continue Reading

CHRISTMAS PROJECT GOES YEAR-ROUND FOR CHURCH GROUP

As the holidays approached last year, Vicki Suttle and Marsha Gentry went to a pastor at their church, seeking a way to better invest themselves in the lives of the people in their community. “We wanted to connect with people on more than a one-time thing,” Vicki said. The pastor steered them to Bridge Refugee… Continue Reading

Sudanese family buys first home

Yagoub and Tayba will soon have something they haven’t had since they fled war-torn South Sudan roughly six years ago – a house of their own. “My family will be so happy when they know that they live in their own home, and it will secure my family’s future,” Yagoub said of the four-bedroom house… Continue Reading

Congolese high schooler excels at STEM

Just a month into his freshman year at the L&N STEM Academy, student Phillip Sebu stood in the pit at the Tennessee Valley Fair’s Robo-Rodeo, tools at the ready. As a rookie member of the school’s Robotics team, the STEMpunks, Phillip cheered on the team’s robot, Rosetta, a.k.a. Rosie, as it completed a series of… Continue Reading

SUDANESE FAMILY PUTS DOWN ROOTS WITH HABITAT HOME

Yagoub and Tayba will soon have something they haven’t had since they fled war-torn South Sudan roughly six years ago – a house of their own. “My family will be so happy when they know that they live in their own home, and it will secure my family’s future,” Yagoub said of the four-bedroom house… Continue Reading

GRADUATION MARKS MILESTONE FOR BOSNIAN MOM, DAUGHTER

Like most parents of the Class of 2020, Belma Denic looked forward to attending her daughter’s upcoming high school graduation from Hardin Valley Academy—and worried that the COVID-19 outbreak might mar those plans. For Belma, a refugee from Bosnia who resettled in Knoxville when she was 18, attending the graduation holds particular significance. “It will… Continue Reading

COVID IMPACTS MOST VULNERABLE CLIENTS

With soaring unemployment rates and taxed health care systems across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone in unprecedented and unexpected ways. But the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted how much more vulnerable refugees are during a global crisis. “It’s definitely had an impact,” Bridge Program Manager Katie Weber said of the pandemic’s disruption of… Continue Reading

IN CHATTANOOGA, TORNADO COLLIDES WITH COVID CRISIS

The tornado that ripped through Chattanooga on Easter Sunday night came with no warning. “It happened at midnight,” said Marina Peshterianu, associate director of Bridge’s Chattanooga office. “The majority of people were asleep.” She and her husband rushed to a downstairs bathroom to take refuge, listening to howling winds and crashing trees outside her home…. Continue Reading

CELEBRATING OUR CHATTANOOGA PARTNERS

“Volunteers of the Year:” Vicki Suttle and Marsha Gentry! Vicki and Marsha have been Bridge volunteers since 2018, and together they lead the Hixson Presbyterian Church Community Assistance Team (CAT), which has co-sponsored FOUR refugee families from Burundi, Colombia and Sudan. They truly go above and beyond as volunteers to build trust and form close relationships with… Continue Reading

CELEBRATING OUR KNOXVILLE PARTNERS

There is not a more invested and dedicated church partner than Two Rivers Church. Their Community Assistance Team (CAT) welcomed a young man from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in September, showing him how to cook, helping furnish his apartment, assisting him in opening a bank account, and inviting him to take part in Thanksgiving… Continue Reading