Program Updates

Hispanic Volunteers Provide Support and Hope to New Immigrants

The St. Louis metropolitan area has been one of the fastest-growing areas in the country for immigrants, both documented and undocumented. Many of the new immigrants are Latina single mothers, dealing with significant trauma experienced in their home country, during their migration, and now adjusting to life in the United States.

Sr. Rosario Bobadilla recognized this issue and has provided training and support to 20 Hispanic Volunteer Leaders who provide guidance and support to these new immigrants. From April through October 2021, they have served 345 new immigrant families. The vast majority of these families were single women with children. During the period, there were 1,3801 contacts and visits. The volunteers provided 1,710.25 documented hours of service, and we know many more hours went unrecorded.

Sr. Rosario provided 420 hours of guidance and support to the leaders, 10 hours more a month than was anticipated. These generous leaders, trying to live their Catholic faith, benefit from the counsel and guidance of Sr. Rosario, who ensures that volunteers are providing the right balance of support and accompaniment that enables the immigrant to become independent and find their place in the new culture.

Unidos en Cristo training of volunteers
Five of the Hispanic Leaders and Sr. Rosario along with 34 immigrants spent their Saturday learning how to budget rather than living from paycheck to paycheck.

The contacts and visits offered the immigrants the opportunity to explore the challenges and receive advice on available services. They also help the immigrants deal with the significant life trauma they have or are experiencing. Although not as quantifiable as visits and hours of service, the leaders strongly feel that the most powerful impact they have is the emotional supports that touch people’s lives who feel alone and without resources. It’s the personal presence in the migrants’ own home that brings the solace that helps to heal their trauma.

These immigrants are desperate for someone to listen to them and help them find solutions in times of crisis. The leaders offer a sense of community they need to help them stabilize. For example, when the father of a young family was murdered in St Louis, the team from Unidos en Cristos rallied. They helped the family move to a safer home away from the murder site, helped with food and utilities during the mourning period, and then in a truly creative plan, found another Hispanic woman in the community who offered the mother a paid apprenticeship working within her cleaning business for four months. The mother now has a full-time job, and although still grieving the loss of her husband, she and her children are stable.

There have been occasions when migrants find themselves homeless, and the leaders have taken them into their own homes for a short time while setting up a more permanent housing situation. The leaders sometimes spend their evenings and weekends providing babysitting for a mother who has to work long hours until they can help her find a more permanent childcare situation.

Want to help these volunteers continue to help and provide hope to migrants in the U.S.? Read more about this program here, and click the button below to make a donation today.

Featured News