Stories of Immigration: Yelena


Every story of immigration is unique. Yelena’s family left Azerbaijan when she was young, and now she’s helping others find their American dream.

People who immigrate to the United States all have something in common: they are seeking a better life here, in one way or another. 

However, every person who comes to the United States also has a unique story. 

If you turn on the TV or log on to social media and seek the “story of migrants,” they are often reductionistic—trying to paint a catch-all image of “migrants” and their stories. 

But the truth is, every person is different. Each one comes from a different piece of earth with a different goal and a different way of pursuing that goal. 

For Yelena Kanevsky-Buck​, a member of Endeavors legal team, migrating to the United States meant leaving “home” behind at a young age. She and her family fled from Azerbaijan, a transcontinental country located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, in 1990. 

She vividly remembers the moment her family’s permanent resident visa to the United States was approved:

It had been hours of waiting, surrounded by a myriad of other families, our name was finally called. I may have only been 8 years old, but instinctively I knew the stern looking U.S. consulate officer across the desk held our key to leaving the war-torn Azerbaijan behind. 

After a long interview, he called me over to his wide mahogany desk and handed me the little ink stamp. As I stamped the documents in front of him, a smile across his face, he told me that I had just secured my family’s entry into the United States of America.

According to Yelena, it took her years to comprehend the number of people that worked tirelessly on behalf of families like hers. People whose collective undertaking blessed her and her family with the ultimate opportunity. 

Even more, she says, it took her years to find her place among these people.

After years of study and hard work, she achieved her American dream with her role as an Associate General Counsel at Endeavors.  

“This incredible organization offers practical support and resources to vulnerable members of our community,” she said. “Whether serving our veterans, migrants, or the community at large; the people at Endeavors do so with passion and conviction.” 

Yelena says that she truly believes that “from help comes hope,” and that when there is hope, great good is possible. 

She said, “It is my hope that the people Endeavors helps pursue their American dreams and one day give back to our community by helping others achieve theirs.”   

About Endeavors Migrant Services

Seeking protection from the persecution and deteriorating social and economic conditions in their home countries, increasing amounts of migrant children and families have traveled to the United States hoping to make better lives for themselves.

Through our ever-evolving Migrant Services programs, we have provided direct care, migrant wellness support, case management, home study and post-release services, staffing, and holistic programming for unaccompanied migrant children and families since 2012. 

Now more than ever, migrants caught in crisis are entering the United States, hoping to create a better life for themselves. Our Migrant Services team assists these individuals who are seeking safety and protection by providing for a majority of the care and needs of newly arriving families, including shelter, access to basic medical and mental health care, and legal orientations. 

About Endeavors 

Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit

Minute Read

You May Also Like:

Recent News

Back to Top