INDIANAPOLIS — America is a country of immigrants, and our latest new residents include Ukrainian refugees who left after Russia invaded their home.
Inside of the Christel House South campus the DORS program is opening its doors to a Ukrainian couple.
“My name is Albina, last name Sablina,” said Sablina. “This is my husband, Boris Mnyshenko.”
This couple knows love like their years of marriage, even down to the month.
“Thirteen-years, and six months,” said Mnyshenko.
Now their love of family carried with them to Indy and away from the war in Ukraine.
“We are from Kiev,” said Mnyshenko.
When they left the capitol city, they left everything behind.
“We built our house by our hands,” said Mnyshenko. “Unfortunately, our house was bombed and destroyed.”
Sablina came to America first, while Mnyshenko stayed.
“I am retired army professional," Mnyshenko said.
He defended his homeland for four months, as a civilian.
Leaving Ukraine during the invasion brought emotion.
“Loneliness. Loneliness… frustrated and it was difficult,” said Sablina.
Each day apart was anxiety ridden, but two days after they arrived in Indy, they found a Facebook post leading them to Christel House DORS.
“It was a luck story really,” said Sablina. “This school give us first step for new life.”
The program helps adults of all ages earn their Indiana Core Forty High School diploma. Even more, it’s helping these refugees feel at home.
“Every coach, all staff, is friend for us,” said Sablina.
"I am not outgoing person, but this school, our teacher, our coaches and this school help me receive confidence," Mnyshenko said.
It’s a new sense of confidence, teacher, Mila Vilesova is credited with building. She’s also credited with heling them find the school in the first place.
She posted about the program in Russian, in hopes it would reach Ukrainians.
“It’s heart breaking for both Ukrainian and Russian people,” said Vilesova.
She understands the struggle of moving to a new country because Vilesova is Russian.
“But we hope peace will come and people will be able to live the life they should live and deserve to live," Vilesova said.
It’s Russians helping Ukrainians find a new home in Indy and their story shows beauty of learning and teaching always helping one another has no boarders or barriers of war.
“I think we’re not really teachers, we’re educators and we help our students and without knowing it or without realizing it, our students help us as well,” said Vilesova.
Most Russians and Ukrainians share heritage or family in the area.
So, Mila knew that posting about the program in Russian would reach Ukrainian refugees. We have good news tonight -- Boris learned English through this program so quickly, he could test and pass the test to get a CDL license and get a job driving trucks.
DROS is unique in that it services students that otherwise would not have the opportunity to move on to get that high school diploma and meet those post-secondary goals. While they are there, staff surround themselves around all the students.
They have a support system in place where they have coaches who follow the students academically, and they offer resource supports to ensure they’re moving all the obstacles out of the way to make sure that they have every opportunity to be successful while at school.
“It’s amazing to watch a graduating class come through and we have some students that are seventeen, who have transitioned out of traditional programs in the same graduating class with students who are in their 70’s and to watch them all become a community and walk across the stage together is very heart-warming," Christel House DORS Principal, Noelle Wilson said,
“It’s also amazing to hear the stories of our students and what lead them to the position to need a program such as DORS and to see the resilience and all the things they overcome to make it happen," Wilson said.
For more information on the program go click here : https://www.chdors.org/