Ripping Families Apart: How Did Our Nation Get Here?

by Sue Smith I traveled internationally with my sons on two separate occasions several years ago. I was “estadounidense” (“American”) and gave little to no thought to whether I was able to travel alone with the kids. We were U.S. citizens, which is to say, we were somewhat oblivious to the rules, regulations and visa […]

Honoring the Parents Reflecting on Hispanic Heritage

  Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. An estimated 17% of the population of the US can be identified as Hispanic. Second only to […]

What’s Happening on Summer Break Bridges of Hope provides summer activities

Each summer, parents want to keep their kids engaged and occupied.  And for working families with limited income, this can be particularly challenging.  Healthy meals, safety in the neighborhood, monitoring television viewing, time spent playing video games — all of these issues are important concerns. While some families schedule camps and activities and family vacations […]

What Will Happen to US? Halfway between September and March, DACA recipients wonder what their future holds

“If DACA ends, life as I know it will end, too. I won’t be able to drive anymore because I’ll lose my license. And I won’t be able to work, or go to school . . . . I don’t know what I’ll do!” This statement exemplifies the feelings of DREAMers everywhere, who anxiously await the […]

The Devastation of Deportation A Mom Leaves the US fearing Separation from her Children

Mirna  was 5 years old and Emilio was 7.  Mirna was a kindergarten student, Emilio was in first grade when I met these children. Their parents are from Honduras.  As an ESOL teacher, I became involved with this family because both kids were struggling in school. They were missing many school days, and both had […]

Actions Have Consequences The Decision to Leave a Child Behind

“How do you feel when your parents migrate to the US . . . and leave you behind?”  This wasn’t an easy question for students to answer in El Salvador. We were visiting an inner-city high school, Instituto Isaac Newton, located in the heart of San Salvador.  The seven of us, all Baptists, were seeking […]

Where Do Immigrants Come From? And Why Do They Come? Understanding the Context for Immigration

Marcos* was a Salvadoran immigrant in his late 20s whose story caused me to dig deeper in order to understand his home country.  Since then, I’ve studied the history of El Salvador and last year, I visited there.  I’ve made Salvadoran friends both in the US and in El Salvador.  It’s fairly easy for non-immigrant […]

The Power of Presence Placing the focus more on the "how" than the "what"

As the year draws to a close, program directors and agencies reflect back over what they’ve accomplished – how many families fed, how many volunteer hours served, how many persons enrolled in classes. But I’m not going to do that. One of the things that distinguishes LUCHA Ministries is not what we do, but how we do […]

Immigrant Fears Information is Key in Addressing Immigrant Fears

Recalibrating, thinking about shutting down refugee offices. Consoling children and comforting parents fearful to leave home. Reminding DREAMers of the risk of applying for DACA. Grieving for people of color. Struggling to address questions and fears among immigrant friends. And Praying Together. Immigration advocates and agencies – including LUCHA Ministries in Fredericksburg, Virginia – found […]

Immigration Legal Services Program A Leap of Faith -- and Now a Reality

“Taking on an initiative this size to offer [immigration] legal services to our community is really a leap of faith for us, and we’re really excited about the opportunity to serve our community this way.” So comments Sue Smith, executive director of LUCHA Ministries in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Since its founding 12 years ago, LUCHA Ministries […]

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