World Refugee Day Celebration in St. Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg, FL –Lutheran Services Florida along with other community partners will celebrate refugees and their successes during World Refugee Day on June 14th at Pinellas Technical College (PTC), St. Petersburg Campus.

“We are excited to be part of today’s celebration to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout Tampa Bay and share the wonderful stories of hope. Refugee resettlement is the American ideal in action – people facing impossible odds to come to the United States to make lives better for themselves and especially their children who, in turn, make our communities better and stronger,” Lourdes Mesias, LSF Statewide Director Refugee Services said.

The day will include refugee success stories, cultural dance performances, “making a world of difference” awards, craft market, food and PTC Career Technical scholarship awards. Media is invited to attend and interview speakers as well as capture any of the visual activities happening.


Speakers Stories

Former refugee Mirela Setkic arrived here in St Pete in 1996 as a refugee from Former Yugoslavia. Although she spoke little English when she arrived here at age 12, Mirela graduated from Pinellas County Schools and went on to receive both her undergraduate degree in Management/Marketing and her MBA from University of South Florida.  Mirela then founded the Kapok Marketing firm in downtown St. Petersburg.  Kapok Marketing, where she is also the co-president and chief marketing officer, provides digital and online marketing for small and mid-size businesses in Tampa Bay.

Tommy Nguyen arrived in Tampa Bay in 1993 with his father as a refugee from Vietnam. Tommy graduated from Pasco County Schools, went to the police academy and now serves as an officer for the Tarpon Springs Police Department. Tommy eventually became certified as a canine officer and his police dog, Dobies, won the prize for being the number one dog in the U.S. for drug detection.

Carlos Bohorquez is a newer arrival to the United States. Carlos was forced to leave Venezuela and arrived with his wife, Andrea, in 2014. They came to this community seeking safety because Carolos was a journalist and he had two attempts on his life by the regime in control of Venezuela. Carlos is now working at Univision, a Spanish-speaking Broadcasting Company in Tampa and does the Spanish voiceover for all Tampa Bay Bucs games. Carlos also works with Casa de Venezuela, a nonprofit organization assisting new arrivals from Venezuela.


WHO: Rick Kriseman, Mayor of St. Petersburg, Lutheran Services Florida, Department of Children and Families, Pinellas Refugee Education Program (PREP)  

WHAT: World Refugee Day

WHEN: Friday, June 14, 2019 from 2:00 to 3:15 pm

WHERE: Pinellas Technical College, St. Petersburg Campus


Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF Associate VP of Communications


Cell: 813-802-8790


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