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Riding into a Brighter Future: How Marina Steers Her Family Toward New Opportunities

Updated: Jul 2

Marina's story is one of resilience, determination, and hope. Fleeing from a small village in Syria, she arrived in the United States in January 2023 with her husband, who has a disability, and their six children.

The journey was arduous, but their resettlement through the Preferred Communities Program at Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida (LSS) marked the beginning of a new chapter filled with opportunity.

Upon their arrival, the dedicated staff at LSS worked to ensure Marina and her family had a smooth transition.

Marine receives a bike from LSS staff.

One of the first critical steps was securing a safe and affordable apartment for them. LSS also helped her find a job at a nearby bakery. This employment was not just a means of financial support; it was a step towards independence and stability for her family.

Marina quickly became the head of household and the primary provider. With six children to care for and a husband with special needs, the responsibility on her shoulders was immense. To reach her workplace, Marina rode a bike donated by LSS for nearly a year. Her determination to provide for her family was evident as she navigated the commute every day.

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The breakthrough came a few months ago when Marina drove herself to the LSS office in her own car. This was more than just a mode of transportation; it was a symbol of her growing independence. Marina had taught herself how to drive, and got her driver’s license, opening up more possibilities for better employment and housing options for her family.

Marine driving her vehicle after obtaining her driver's license

Marina's progress did not stop there. She immersed herself in learning English. Now, she confidently makes doctor’s appointments and schedules essential activities on her own, without needing an interpreter. This language proficiency not only benefits her but also sets a positive example for her children.

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The success of Marina and her family is a shining example of what can be achieved with support and determination. Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, through its Preferred Communities Program, has been instrumental in providing the resources and guidance necessary for refugees like Marina to rebuild their lives.

Her story is a reminder of the profound impact that community support and personal perseverance can have on transforming lives. Marina’s achievements inspire not only other refugees but also the community that welcomed her. As she continues to build a new life for her family, Marina embodies the spirit of courage and hope, showing that with support and determination, even the most challenging circumstances can be overcome.


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