Circle Pines family is ‘all for global citizenship’ | News

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having a tremendous effect on people worldwide.

For example, Kate Bohne of Circle Pines has emerged from retirement to help teach Ukrainian children at Ljubljana International School in Slovenia. She is teaching intensive English to students in grades K-6. It’s the same school where daughter Briza teaches full time.

Briza’s mother anticipates teaching for six weeks following her 18-hour flight Tuesday, March 29. A school official asked for help in what was described as a “pretty stressful” situation as classes swell to accommodate Ukrainian children who have fled their country.

“He reached out for help, and Kate responded,” said Brian Bohne, Kate’s husband, who left the Twin Cities the next day on a 29-hour flight that would take him and two others — Chuck Heile of Circle Pines and Brant Axt of Minneapolis — to start an 18-day trek to Nepal. “I’m so proud of Kate and Briza’s willingness to be in the trenches in ministering to Ukrainian refugees.”

The Bohne family of Kate, Brian and four children — son Bryce and daughters Jessica, Katrisa and Briza — is known for its worldwide endeavors. Both parents took a leave from their jobs here and taught for two years (2006-08) in Saudi Arabia and traveled to several countries — Ecuador; Dominican Republic; Mozambique, where Katrisa is a diplomat with the State Department; African countries and more, even during the pandemic.

“That’s one of the things we do,” Brian said. “We traveled to five continents and a dozen countries.”

The tourism business, he said, had “dried up” and “we went where we were the only visitors and they appreciated our business.”

Meanwhile, his wife is busy in Slovenia, having packed two large suitcases with materials she believes can be used by the Ukrainians forced to flee their country.

Kate, 66, most recently taught adult education in Osseo. She ended her retirement to join Briza, who has also taught in international elementary schools in Kazakhstan, Albania and Bahrain.

That’s typical of this family. Jessica is a Spanish teacher in the Minnetonka area. Bryce has taught Social Studies in Nigeria, Morocco, Philippines and Costa Rica. He is now back in Northeast Minneapolis as an educator at Emerson Spanish Immersion School. He also runs his Gusto Trips company that takes travelers to Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt.

Kate was asked about her thoughts regarding the children having to flee from Ukraine.

On the topic of Ukraine, “it’s unimaginable,” Kate said. “It’s not only these children leaving their home. It’s these children fleeing war-torn cities, leaving their fathers and uncles behind as they go toward an unknown future. My students are brave and beautiful. All of them. And the newcomers — I’m just so glad they are with us. It’s not easy to adjust. But it is deeply good.”

Briza said, “My mother is now teaching with me in an elementary setting, but just a few years back I was fortunate to teach alongside her as she taught English to adults.

“She absolutely lights up when she’s telling stories or acting out a concept to make it more understandable for her students. I love her quirkiness. Humor helps students relax and learn and remember more, and her deep love for people. My mom is intuitive and wise in the way she sees people, and finds the most creative ways to help students reach their goals.”

Kate considers it an honor “to be here helping in such a tangible way. it’s as simple as ‘do what you love and what you are good at wherever you are.’ I never would have expected this to happen, and I know I am not alone in doing things with great love.

“Wherever you are, consider who is around you. Who is the other? Who are the foreigners? Living abroad for about seven years and traveling quite often reminds me how grateful I am when I am invited in — socially, emotionally — or perhaps even into a family and (their) home. The invitation makes all the difference.

“And one more thought: people are people. There are Russian mothers (of soldiers) and all kinds of citizens that are protesting the war and demanding it stop. Unity and love will help us get through and help us heal,” she said, then continued. “Okay, actually one more thing — Ukraine is the most highlighted right now. But it is not the only story of devastation. Let us remember the other refugees and minorities around the world. Human rights belong to everyone. I say this with deep respect and love. We love Ukraine, and we love the world. May we figure out how to love better and better.”

The proud parents will tell you all of their children have worked summers in Language Immersion Camps, where Brian served as dean in locations including Brazil, Switzerland and China.

“We’re a family that’s all for global citizenship,” Brian said.

Contributing Writer Abe Winter can be reached by emailing or calling 651-407-1200.


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