For the first time, Beautiful Day has a mother-daughter team in our programs. Ten days after Russia invaded Ukraine, Svitlana, Violetta and their cat fled to the Czech Republic, then Portugal, and finally, in August 2022, to Providence.
Originally from Kramatorsk, Violetta, who had just completed high school, remembers shopping, the theater, and concerts with friends—some of whom lost their lives in the attack on Kiev. Svitlana had experience making jewelry and working as a nanny. Neither knew any English or had connections with local Ukrainian or Russian speakers.
We’ve loved being their first stepping stone in building a new life. They seize every opportunity to practice English and it shows! They are earning money and building resumes. They’ve opened bank accounts, applied for jobs, and gathered a circle of friends and mentors. When a new adult cohort started in May, Svitlana stayed on to help coach new arrivals. She’s introduced our team to grechka, a comfort-food buckwheat porridge with beef. In Svitlana’s words, “There is a friendly atmosphere [at Beautiful Day]. No person is better than another. We are all working together. People with different nationalities and cultures.”
As “humanitarian parolees” with temporary visas, the future for most Ukrainians is full of unknowns. Still, our case manager is helping Violetta find summer work and apply to college (CCRI). Svitlana has applied for a Pharmacy Technician Training Program. We believe our country and city are lucky to have them and we have high hopes for their future.