Stories

Hopeful Her Story Can Be An Inspiration

Amani Alkellaney was a freshman in high school when the Iraq War started, sending her family into years of upheaval as they fled their home in Iraq, living temporarily in Jordan and then Syria before eventually making their way to Oak Ridge. Now 34, Amani is a college graduate with a career that has taken… Continue Reading

Finding a Home in Sevierville

In the summer of 2023, when Svitlana Bielun and her family arrived in the United States from Ukraine, they made a new home in Sevierville, a small city southeast of Knoxville. After a brief stay in a hotel, Svitlana and her husband, Illia, rented an apartment for themselves and their two young children. They bought… Continue Reading

Growing Refugees’ Opportunities and Wealth

As a single mom with poor health and limited job prospects, Olive has worried about how she’ll become self-sufficient since arriving in Knoxville as a refugee four years ago. “It’s been hard, but Bridge was helping us for everything that we were going through,” she said. “I really appreciate them.” Thanks to Bridge Refugee Services’… Continue Reading

More than a Mentorship

Juan Perdomo Ramirez gained more than a mentor when he enrolled in Bridge Refugee Services’ Youth Mentor Program. He found a friend to support and encourage him through the ups and downs of pursuing his goals as a refugee building a new life in East Tennessee. “I have somebody who cares about me and I… Continue Reading

A former client gives back by continuing her story as an interpreter.

Mona Alkhodor counts the day she became an interpreter for Bridge Refugee Services among one of three milestones in her refugee resettlement journey that made her shed happy tears. “I came here as a refugee from Iraq in 2009 with my husband and three children,” she said. “We arrived in Chattanooga on September 9, 2009,… Continue Reading

Bridge Refugee Services’ new Executive Director hopes to cast a wider net when it comes to resettlement in East Tennessee.

“I want to see what I can do to streamline processes, make things simpler and better utilize resources so we can impact the most people we can,” said Stephanie Livigni. “For 2023 and beyond, being able to impact as many people as possible and looking at what else we can provide – resettlement services, plus… Continue Reading

Venezuelan family of six turns to a Bridge Refugee Services Community Assistance Team (CAT) for help and friendship.

As a Venezuelan family of six has adjusted to life in East Tennessee, they’ve turned to a Bridge Refugee Services Community Assistance Team (CAT) for help and friendship. “They help with everything,” said Asdrubal, who resettled in Chattanooga in early June with his wife, Miley, and their four sons: Adrian, 18, Alexander, 15, Axel, 5,… Continue Reading

Abrahan’s Chromebook access helps build new life in America.

The Chromebook Abrahan received during a digital literacy course is helping him build a new life in America. As one of three Bridge Refugee Services clients from Cuba to participate in the course this summer, Abrahan uses the laptop daily to learn English, translate documents, and email the lawyer helping him apply for asylum. “Here,… Continue Reading

Increasing numbers of Cubans mean connections and community are crucial.

As the number of Cubans migrating to the United States continues to increase, Bridge Refugee Services has been welcoming those landing in East Tennessee by connecting them to one another and community resources. “Since October, more than 80,000 Cubans have arrived across the US,” said Bridge Case Manager Lydia Tarry. Roughly 60 who made their… Continue Reading

In Chattanooga, a Summer learning program offers long-term confidence.

Brothers Deng and Ding feel more confident about school this year thanks to the time they spent in a Summer learning program. “I was very happy they attended the summer school because they learned a lot of things like English, writing and reading and got confidence,” said their mother, Achok, who fled civil war in… Continue Reading