Local

Ukrainian refugees settling in Snohomish County

EVERETT, Wash. — Ukrainian refugees are getting settled in Snohomish County.

Thirty-five parents and children escaped the war and are putting down roots in cities like Everett.

KIRO 7 reporter Lauren Donovan met a family who had to leave everything behind and are now starting from scratch.

Yosyp Lakatosh is wearing an ankle monitor, a requirement for anyone seeking asylum in the U.S. He crossed the Mexican border just days ago, with his wife and kids in tow.

“It was very difficult,” Lakatosh said through an interpreter. ”They didn’t want to go, they wanted to go home, they didn’t understand why they were moving every day, a new country, new people.”

The family is exhausted, as is the hardworking staff at Refugee Immigrant Services Northwest.

“We are exhausted, we’ve put in so many hours,” said executive director Van Dinh-Kuno, who said Snohomish County was the first to receive Ukrainian refugees.

“I think we have the largest community of Ukrainians in the state of Washington,” she said.

On Thursday, Lakatosh was busy getting his two elementary school-age children, Yosyp and Kateryna, signed up for school. On Monday, they’ll start classes in the Everett School District.

“The first 90 days, that’s the most critical time in their lives,” said Dinh-Kuno.

For Dinh-Kuno, getting families like Lakatosh’s set up is not just her job, it’s her life’s mission.

She was a refugee from Vietnam.

“It’s my passion to help other refugees have a better life,” said Dinh-Kuno.

President Joe Biden announced this week that the U.S. will welcome as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.