In 2008, Annette and her husband, Tad, began volunteering as refugee family mentors. The couple had visited developing countries that welcomed them with heartwarming hospitality in the past, and wanted to extend the same compassion to newcomers in the U.S. Tad and Annette were paired with Nagaba, a refugee from Central African Republic that had just arrived in Utah.
Year by year, Annette and her husband helped Nagaba and her family adjust to life in the U.S. They showed Nagaba how to pay bills, got the kids on a soccer team, sat in on parent-teacher conferences, and provided rides to and from school and medical appointments.
Reflecting on the past eight years, Annette said, “I did not change them. They changed me."
After all these years, Annette and Nagaba still make time to see each other on various holidays. Annette's eyes brighten when she recalls how Nagaba's children exclaim, "This is the best day of my life!" when visiting a celebration at her house.
For those interested in mentoring a refugee, Annette says, “If you want to make a difference in the world, this is a GREAT place to start.”