Adrienne began engaging with the refugee population in 2013 as an ESL partner to a recently-arrived family from Myanmar. Witnessing the strength and resilience this population exhibited, Adrienne was inspired to begin a new career in refugee resettlement, serving as a Refugee Services, Outreach, and Circle of Welcome Coordinator at Lutheran Services Carolinas. She received an MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies from the University of London in 2019, and currently works as a contract grant and content writer for World Relief Durham. After losing her full-time job as a result of the pandemic, she found herself in the roll of stay-at-home caregiver overnight. This blessing in disguise allowed her to better understand the invaluable asset of accessible educational programs for early learners, and the priceless support of family and community for stay-at-home caregivers. BELONG NC was founded on the premise that all children and parents should have such support in their community.
Kate Hanson grew up in the north of England and went to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, before moving to North Carolina in 2010.
She has made a career in librarianship, first in public libraries and now in a corporate library for a law firm. She has volunteered in small ways for various organizations over the years but is now excited to step into a more involved role with BELONG NC where her organizational skills can be put to use as the Board Secretary.
Kate lives in downtown Raleigh with her husband and two young children, Mina and Robert. Outside of work she loves baking, running, and taking care of the family’s backyard chickens.
Quyen Nguyen Slone’s journey to become a Belong NC board member started on April 29, 1975 when she and her family escaped Vietnam on an overcrowded boat in the middle of the night. This crucial event marked the end of the Vietnam War, as well as an opportunity at a second chance to start a new life in America.
As a refugee, Quyen knows firsthand how difficult it is to start over again in a new country. She remembers how difficult it was to learn English, keep up with kids her age (intellectually and socially), and make friends. She also recalls the incredible challenges her parents faced to make a living, care for Quyen and her brother, and form new relationships while mourning the loss of their country, family, and friends.
Quyen graduated from Florida State University (Go Seminoles!) with degrees in Computer Information Systems and Finance. She worked as a Training Manager at GlaxoSmithKline for 17 years and then took some time off to raise her daughter. Quyen currently works as an independent project manager, managing performance learning for Pfizer. She is excited to be part of BELONG NC, and to help other refugee preschoolers and caretakers with their second chance.
School Engagement Chair
Emily Yoon grew up in Raleigh and after many years away returned to the triangle, where she lives with her husband and three children. Emily met Adrienne through Lutheran Services and was quickly inspired to support refugee resettlement.
Anyone moving to a new home deserves a warm welcome, stable support and basic needs met upon their arrival. Through Belong NC, Emily is excited to help provide educational programs and support for children and their families.
Emily is serving at the Southeast Raleigh Table as the Interim Operations Director. Emily loves to exercise and to cook delicious meals to share with others. Our family is always up for an adventure, especially in the mountains or on the coast.
Community Engagement Chair
Hannah Ajakaiye grew up in Raleigh, N.C. but left after University when she joined the U.S. Peace Corps. Upon finishing her Peace Corps Service focusing on Youth Development emphasizing Community Economic Development she moved to Washington, D.C. where she met her husband. Subsequently, they moved to the Midwest, West Coast, Deep South, and the North East to ultimately end back in Raleigh, N.C. Hannah loves immersing herself in new cultures and traveling internationally. She and her husband have 3 children and are passionate about cultural and racial diversity.