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About Us

Monarch Immigrant Services is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, established in May 2002 as Bilingual International Assistant Services by stateless refugee women – Julia Ostropolsky and Svetlana Miretsky – to address unmet needs in the local Russian-speaking Jewish refugee population in St. Louis, Missouri. Our origin, grounded in a deep and intensely personal understanding of the challenges faced by newcomers and their families, has expanded over the years to encompass a broader spectrum of support and direct service to immigrant and refugee communities in the region. Today Monarch provides mental health, social services, legal assistance, language support, and senior engagement to over 3,000 individuals in the St. Louis area annually.


Our Mission

Strengthening immigrant and refugee communities through equitable access to transformative services.


We envision a community where individuals of all nationalities, ages, and language abilities have equal access to essential healthcare, mental health, and social services, fostering a compassionate, diverse, and strong St. Louis community.


    • Integrity: Committing to honest and ethical services.
    • Responsiveness: Rapidly developing innovative solutions.
    • Collaboration: Embracing collective strategies through learning and sharing.
    • Inclusiveness: Championing diversity, inclusion, and equity.
    • Joy: Finding meaning in our work and valuing our collaborative spirit.

Name Change 

In 2024, the Board of Directors of Bilingual International Assistant Services voted to approve a re-branding of the organization to Monarch Immigrant Services. The inspiration for the name Monarch came from parallels with the community we serve. Monarch butterflies are migratory – traveling thousands of miles on their journeys. Migration is necessary for their survival. In terms of humans, some choose to relocate. For many others, relocation is also a necessity. These journeys are essential for finding and maintaining a safe habitat, ensuring a healthy and safe place to call home. Immigrants embark on transformative journeys, navigating challenges with courage and determination, and ultimately enrich the tapestry of our communities. The Gateway Arch – itself a symbol of migration – in our new logo, foregrounds St. Louis as the safe landing spot and new home for our clients.

In starting a new chapter as Monarch Immigrant Services, we are not closing the book on our work as Bilingual International. We’re proud of our history and what we’ve accomplished over the past 22 years. We’re excited to share this next chapter with the community and are hopeful it represents the care and resources we provide. We are glad that you are sharing this journey with us.

Founder’s Story

Julia Ostropolsky, LCSW, our founder, was a stateless refugee from the Soviet era, who founded this agency in 2002 with fellow refugee Svetlana Miretsky. Her personal experiences shaped her vision for Bilingual International Assistant Services (the former name of Monarch Immigrant Services). Today, Julia continues her work with foreign-born senior populations as the CEO of her home and personal care company, Bi-Lingual In-Home Assistant Services.