GAA students come from near and far. While the pandemic has impacted the number of international students at Glendale Adventist Academy (GAA) over the last couple of years, there are still a handful who come from outside the United States. The ongoing war in Ukraine has forced many to flee their home in search of safety, and a couple of those families have found their safe haven in Southern California, thanks to the efforts of Pastor Anatoliy Gurduiala from the Russian-American church.

GAA has opened its arms and embraced these students; however, the cultural differences and financial limitations have made it difficult for these students to adapt. Moreover, the needs for the well-being of these families are real concerns. Thankfully, with the combined efforts of the local churches, Southern California Conference, and our school, we have made it possible for these children to attend school and thrive!

Even though the adjustment to GAA has not been easy, Darya (Kindergarten), Daniela (fourth), Violina (seventh), and Anastasia (ninth) are eager to learn and are trying their best to adapt to their new way of life. All four girls are wonderful and a joy to have!

Originally published in Pacific Sunrise.