meet our founder and executive director
A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Leonard Bagalwa lived in refugee camps in Malawi and Zimbabwe for more than three years before coming to the United States. Today, he believes that his personal experiences and his work can empower people and transform lives.
Leonard completed his undergraduate degree in Public and Community Health Education at Utah Valley University. He has over six years of experience working with refugees in Utah and has served on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations over the past two years. He is the founder and former president of the UVU African Club, a club that transformed the perception of Africa in the eyes of the local community and state of Utah. In 2016, Leonard co-founded the Utah Community & Refugee Partnership Center, which has since become Utah Valley Refugees.
meet the board of directors
Scott Bradford, Treasurer
Scott is an economics professor at BYU. He specializes in international economics with a focus on migration. In 2016, while on a Fulbright Fellowship in India, Scott, his wife, and two youngest children became good friends with a refugee family from Afghanistan and saw first-hand the challenges that refugees face and the need for non-refugees to help them. This led Scott to find ways to help refugees after returning to the United States. Seeing that Utah Valley Refugees was the best organization for helping refugees in Utah County, he joined the board in 2018. Other community service includes a stint as president of the UV Rays Swim Team and ongoing foster care.
We’re working on Rhett’s bio—pardon our construction dust!
Lana Bailey, Family Alliance Coordinator
Lana has been a volunteer with Utah Valley Refugees since July 2018. She has loved meeting refugees from all over the world and learning from their resilience and optimism. As a student at BYU, she conducted research about women and children in Guguletu, South Africa. There she saw first-hand the plight and great needs of dislocated people. She is thrilled to be a part of an organization dedicated to helping refugees make a home in Utah County.
We’re working on Ann’s bio—pardon our construction dust!
Andrew May, Co-Founder
Andrew has a passion for helping refugees, immigrants, and those of foreign culture that started at an early age. He currently works as an assistant basketball coach at Dixie State University. He has also worked at BYU as the director of basketball operations and at Salt Lake Community College as an assistant men’s basketball coach, adjunct faculty instructor in the LIfetime Activity Department, and mentor to foreign students. In 2016, he co-founded Utah Valley Refugees.He is married to Marissa, and they are the parents of Benson, Ella, Karsten, Luke, and Will.