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Yevy Bednaya

When Yevy came to the United States she was three and a half years old, and it was not safe at the time the Soviet Union was falling. Her grandmother had already left the Russia Federation for Brooklyn, and so Yevy and her mother made the journey – like so many others – as refugees, coming here to find a safer and better life.

I don’t know how we did it, but we made it work.”

We asked Yevy to describe her experience. “It was my mom always having to figure out how things work in the US,” she says, “It was having to learn English. It was getting hand me downs. We didn’t have an organization like BronxWorks to help show the way.”

Yevy and her family relied on connections they made within a Russian community in Brooklyn. Her mother found employment while she went back to school. She earned a degree from Brooklyn College as a Nutritionist. Back in Russia, she was a Neurologist. School of course became important for Yevy too.

After graduating high school, Yevy attended Hunter College, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from NYU and, in 2019, she joined BronxWorks at the Nelson Avenue Family Residence as a Client Care Coordinator. She worked at the Nelson Family Residence for over two years, was promoted from Client Care Coordinator to Case Manager Supervisor and then to Director of Social Services. In September 2022, Yevy became the Residence Director at the BronxWorks Family Sanctuary, a role for which she is uniquely suited.

Many of the families here have arrived with just the clothes on their backs. They are so very much in need of assistance. But they are also amazingly positive. I’m inspired by their diligence and their eagerness.”

For Yevy, it has come full circle. Her mother, after going back to school to become a Nutritionist, now works for WIC. Yevy, after becoming a Social Worker, oversees a family sanctuary for refugees who have come here seeking a safer and better life. The stories we share with each other are more similar than they are different. Yevy draws from her own experience as an immigrant and refugee to the U.S. in how she approaches her work with these new families who have come here to seek the very same things that she and her mother did almost thirty years ago.

Outside of work, Yevy loves hiking, video games, and cats. She adopted a cat named Pluto from the backyard at the Nelson Family Residence. She likes to spend time with the people that are important to her, and focusing on self-care and art.

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