Screenshot of Nataly's video message to the IRC Community
Nataly's video message to the IRC Community
Photo: Nataly, Happier

JUMP RIGHT IN & Click here to check out Nataly's video message to the IRC Community.

Hi, I’m Nataly, and I’m a refugee. 32 years ago, my parents and I left everything we had and everyone we knew behind to try and make our way to the United States. After two and a half months in the refugee settlements in Europe, where we applied for refugee status in the US, we were grateful to receive it.

Our American Dream began in public housing outside of Detroit. We were able to get foodstamps and welfare to give us some support, but our apartment hardly had any furniture. After a few weeks, we received a few furniture donations -- mattress frames, chairs, an old antique table we used as our TV stand -- and I remember how surreal and magical it was for our little apartment to begin to feel somewhat like home.

My parents have moved to different states and lived in several houses over the years and they still have that antique table. It’s a cherished part of our refugee experience, just like the first gift I ever bought for my mom: a $12 turquoise blouse I got at Kmart after I got my first paycheck. It was a lot of money for us then!

Even though I became a refugee 32 years ago, the experience has shaped who I am – and it impacts me every day. It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to come to a country you don’t know, not understanding the language, to not having anything. And it’s equally hard to put into words how much simple things matter, like having some furniture, forks and knives, a TV that works.

These might be things, but to us refugees, they were so much more than that. At a time when everything was unfamiliar and frankly, scary, when we felt lost and uncertain, these things gave us some comfort, some sense of home, and a feeling of being safe.

I am so incredibly grateful for the work the IRC is doing in helping so many refugees. And it means so much to me to support this work by partnering with the IRC for the launch of my new book, The Awesome Human Project, and our Awesome Human Day online event to celebrate it.

My company, Happier, will donate one dollar to the IRC for every person who registers for this live event. And my family will double this donation by matching it dollar for dollar – a small act of giving back that means a lot to me. I hope that you will join me for this inspiring, unique online experience that will fuel you with positive energy and help launch a movement that celebrates our uniqueness and humanness.

Your participation will also support the IRC! Please join us for the Awesome Human Day virtual event on February 8, 2022, at 4pm ET. Registration is free and you can register here. Please share this invitation broadly and let’s make a difference, together.

With gratitude,