Building New Lives In New Communities

Author: Catherine Vo, Guest Blogger

Every refugee is an individual with skills, interests, and dreams. Kerry Brodie, a daughter of immigrants who grew up in the DC area, takes this to heart as the founder of a nonprofit that provides culinary training to refugees.

Emma’s Torch doubles as a restaurant in Brooklyn and a 12-week paid culinary training program. Their mission is “To harness the power of the culinary industry to help refugees build new lives in their new communities.” Additionally, students receive English classes tailored around the culinary industry, and mock interviews to prepare them for the workforce after training is complete.

This nonprofit was named after Emma Lazarus–poet, activist, and advocate for refugees. Verses of her sonnet “The New Colossus” are inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, including the infamous lines: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” This iconic symbol of welcoming refugees and immigrants into our country inspires and fuels the mission of Brodie’s organization.

As part of LSS/NCA’s refugee resettlement program, we also invest in our clients by providing employment services. Each refugee adult is matched with a LSS/NCA Job Developer to assess their skills and interests to match them with an appropriate first job in our country. The Job Developers remain in contact as a resource for the clients for at least 90 days after job placement to ensure the match is successful. Additionally, we provide vocational training and employment orientation workshops which include interview techniques, creating resumes and cover letters, and learning about the American workplace culture. LSS/NCA has assisted thousands of refugees in building their careers, and you can be part of this movement.

How Can You Help?

  • Donate food or grocery cards for our upcoming annual World Refugee Day celebration in June. Contact Mira Mendick at
  • Learn about employing refugees here.
  • Volunteer as an Employment Assistant in Maryland or Virginia.



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