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Our Story

The daughter of a Croatian immigrant, Laura Marenco grew up listening to her father’s stories of his family’s struggles while immigrating to the United States. These stories led Laura to a lifelong interest in the immigration process and its life-changing experience of moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar and adjusting to a completely different culture.

In 2012, while searching for a summer internship before her third year of graduate school, Laura originated the idea for Golden Beacon USA. During a discussion with Hogar Immigrant Services, an organization based in Manassas, Virginia, staff mentioned that their clients often ask about resources available to them in their newly adopted community. Combining her educational and professional background in the training and development field with her experiences from traveling to 48 states, Laura created and taught a resources workshop for the Hogar community. In her final year of graduate school, she wrote the business plan to turn these resource workshops into accessible and affordable e-learning videos covering the major metropolitan areas of the United States.

In 1956, Laura’s grandparents Antonio and Nella Dekovich, her father Alexander, and two uncles left on Antonio’s boat in the middle of the night to flee a communist Yugoslavia. The trip was treacherous, with a storm threatening to capsize their tiny boat. The family was rescued by fishermen on a boat nearby and sent to a refugee camp in Italy. After spending a few years there, the Dekovich family finally traveled to the United States to start their American Dream. Antonio later recounted this story in the pages below entitled ‘It Happened to Me.’

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Laura with her dad, Alex.

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Laura Marenco 

Founder of Golden Beacon USA

EDUCATION

  • B.A., Sociology with a minor in Spanish, The University of Texas at Austin

  • M.S. Educational Studies, with a concentration in Adult Education, Johns Hopkins University

  • Graduate Certificate in Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance, George Mason University’s International Coaching Federation accredited program

  • TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certified

  • Training Specialist and a Career Coach in government and nonprofit sectors

  • Volunteer case manager and Career Coach at Catholic Charities for newly arrived refugees from Afghanistan

  • Taught English as a Second Language to students of all ages and ESL levels in China through the VIPKID online platform

EXPERIENCE

The Dekovich Family in the former Yugoslavia, before leaving for the United States. L to R: Alex, Nella, Aldo, Antonio, and Tony.

The Dekovich family in Italy where they stayed in a refugee camp before moving to the United States.

Antonio on his fishing boat before escaping Yugoslavia.

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Laura visiting the Dekovici town in Croatia in 2023.

The Immigration Story That Inspired Golden Beacon USA

Our Principles

Affordable

Prices for our services are kept at a low, reasonable price to accommodate immigrants from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Privacy Promise

Golden Beacon USA is committed to the protection of the privacy of its users. Such information will only be shared to protect immediate risk of death, harm, or bodily injury, or risk to community, or as otherwise required by lawful court order.

Patriotism

America is a wonderful place, full of opportunity and freedom for anyone and everyone. Golden Beacon USA is here to help you get started in calling this great place home.

Customer Service

Listening to the needs of our customers drives the content and services offered by Golden Beacon USA. Providing our customers with an easy way to contact us and responding in a timely manner are important cornerstones of our company.

Compassion

We understand that the immigration process can be difficult and scary. We are here to listen and provide support.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does Golden Beacon USA do?
    Golden Beacon USA is a one-stop shop for the information that immigrants and refugees in the US need to acclimate to their new country. We offer educational videos on American culture and resources, resource referrals, social forums, and overview presentations to organizations serving these communities.
  • Is it a nonprofit organization?
    We are a for-profit organization.
  • Are your services free?
    The educational videos and social forums are free. The Resource Referrals service has a fee.
  • I don't speak English. Can I use your services?
    Of course! We speak Spanish, but not fluently. For other languages ​​or for those struggling with the English language, we ask that the client provide an interpreter when possible. However, if this is not possible, we can provide an interpreter with enough advanced notice, per the client’s request.
  • I am not an immigrant or refugee. Can I still use your services?
    Yes. No matter how long you’ve been in the US or if you were born here or in another country, our services are available to everyone.
  • To use your services, do I have to disclose my immigration status?
    NO. We help everyone and everyone, including undocumented clients. The only instance where we would need this information is during a resource referral to verify your eligibility to go to school, work, or use state or local programs. Your information is kept private and confidential. See our privacy policy for more information.
  • How do I create an account on Golden Beacon USA?
    Click on “My Account” in the upper right corner of the site. In “Sign up”, enter your email address and create a password. Click on “Register.” You will receive a confirmation email. Once you have confirmed your email address, log in and you will be directed to the dashboard, where you can view and manage your orders, manage your shipping and billing information, and edit your password and account details. To create your profile on our social forums, click on “Social Forums”. In the drop-down menu, click on “Members”. On the right side, click on “Profile.”
  • Why should I watch the e-learning videos?
    Our FREE educational video library will teach you about US culture and systems, finance, transportation, and educational options, immigrant resources, job and employment search, and more! Our library is constantly updated with new content, so be sure to check back often.
  • Why can't I download the e-learning videos to my computer?
    The e-learning videos are only accessible and viewable through your account on the Golden Beacon USA website. You cannot download the videos to view them on your personal devices.
  • What are the social forums?
    Our social forums are a private place for immigrants and refugees to meet and share resources and advice. You can create your own profile, add a photo, start or add to a discussion, and more. Create your profile today!
  • I live in another country and would like to move to the U.S. Can you help me?
    Yes! We can help you find resources such as an immigration attorney to help you with your journey. In addition to emails, we use WhatsApp to communicate. You can reach us at +17138291704. Please note, however, that we are limited in how we can assist you from afar. We are not lawyers. We do not provide any legal advice or services.
  • Are you a lawyer and/or provide legal services?
    No. We are not attorneys nor do we provide legal advice, assistance and/or representation. Questions about immigration to the US or any other related matter should be directed to a licensed immigration attorney, who we are more than happy to help you find. Visit our Resource Referrals section for more information.
  • Is my account information safe?
    Yes! We are committed to protecting the privacy of our users. Your information will only be shared to protect the immediate risk of death, bodily harm or injury, or risk to the community, or as required by a legal court order. Read our privacy policy for more information.
  • Are your services available to organizations that help and/or employ immigrants and refugees?
    Yes, our videos and Resource Referrals Assistant are available to organizations serving immigrants and refugees, as well as companies with foreign employees. We also offer on-site presentations and webinars for organizations and businesses who want to familiarize themselves with our mission and services.
  • I am thinking about going back to school. Can you help me with that?
    Definitely! As part of our Resource Referrals service, we will help you explore higher education options that align with your interests and goals and research the necessary prerequisites so you can take the next step towards fulfilling your educational dreams in the U.S.
  • Are you on social media?
    Yes! Please like and follow us on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter , Pinterest , and YouTube .
  • Can you sponsor me or my family, friend, etc. to come to the U.S.?
    No, we do not sponsor anyone to come to the U.S. However, our Resource Referrals Assistant can help you find a lawyer or other options to help you in that area.
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