by Rogelio Ayllon, Board President
Recently, I had the opportunity to help Rachel, our Executive Director, with legal intakes for middle school students in one of the school districts we serve. It was an opportunity to see our work on the ground and meet many of the youth that we serve.
The legal intake process was tough — it was difficult to not sound shocked or emotional as the youth shared their stories. As a board member, I am generally removed from the day-to-day operations, so getting to experience our daily work helped me appreciate even more the work that our staff and volunteers do day in and day out. It is not easy work, and yet our volunteers choose to help because they believe in the importance of what we do.
In many ways, this experience also amplified my belief in Project Libertad’s mission and why our work is so critically important. I spoke to a newcomer who had endured a brutal 3-month trip to the United States with his family, exposed to life-threatening situations to seek protection. Throughout his trip, they crossed two borders, saw friends die along the way, were threatened by various people, went hungry, and slept on the pavement as they awaited processing into the US.
Immigration has a multifaceted impact on children’s lives. On top of not being entitled to legal representation through the immigration process, the arduous trip to seek entrance into the US takes a toll on their physical and mental health. When they are successfully admitted, they often face financial insecurity and are vulnerable to abuse due to their status.
At Project Libertad, we aim to bridge that gap by providing legal, educational, and mental health programs for immigrant youth. The support that we get from donors, advocates, and volunteers goes a long way to ensure that we meet the needs of these children. Every donation, whether it’s $5 or $1,000, allows us to help more youth like the ones I met recently.
I hope you’ll help us make an impact. Please consider donating or volunteering!