Solidarity with the Central American Exodus

Support Refugees along the U.S./ Mexico Border

Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas

Annunciation House is a volunteer, non-profit organization providing accompaniment and basic emergency services to asylum seekers at the border. With the current number of people arriving from Central America and the coming caravan from Honduras, they are in need of volunteers to help with intakes, transportation, travel arrangements, the clothing bank, and providing meals. Asylum seekers being released now have no “post-release plan” the way they used to – they are being dumped at the bus stations without tickets, some not knowing where they are or even having anywhere to go.

RAICES in San Antonio, TX

RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) provides free and low-cost education and legal services to underserved immigrant families, children, and refugees in Central and South Texas. Many of these families are fleeing violence from their home countries in Central America and are seeking asylum in the U.S. Volunteers will specifically work within the Karnes Pro-Bono Project at the Karnes County Residential Center.

Volunteer Work, Skills Needed, and Logistics

Annunciation House Volunteers

With the current number of people arriving from Central America and the coming caravan from Honduras, Annunciation House is in need of volunteers to help with intakes, transportation, travel arrangements, the clothing bank, providing meals, and general housekeeping for the shelter. They are renting two small hotels to expand their hospitality centers.

Skills neededVolunteers should be at least intermediate Spanish speakers, have experience working with underserved, vulnerable, and/ or marginalized populations, and be extremely flexible working within a constantly shifting environment. Volunteers must also pass a mandatory background check. 

Volunteers do not need to be UU or affiliated with a UU Congregation to participate in this volunteer opportunity. 

RAICES Volunteers

The RAICES Karnes Pro-Bono Project assigns volunteers directly inside Karnes County Residential Center. Volunteer work includes, but is not limited to conducting intake with clients to assess legal needs, asylum interview prep, and providing “know your rights” information.

Skills needed: All volunteers must be fluent in Spanish (no exceptions). Having a legal background is not necessary for this volunteer work as training will be provided to all volunteers ahead of service. 

Volunteers do not need to be UU or affiliated with a UU Congregation to participate in this volunteer opportunity. 

Annunciation House: Volunteer Dates

UUCSJ is recruiting volunteers to arrive in El Paso on Saturdays and begin volunteering on Sunday for the months of September and October. Volunteers must stay a minimum of two weeks, in order to make a lasting contribution to the work of the organization. Longer volunteer placements of 2 weeks or more are preferred.

Due to the nature of this issue, it is impossible to know how long thousands of migrants will arrive in El Paso, and we ask for volunteers to sign up as early as they are able, and remain flexible as plans can change very quickly. UUCSJ will continue recruitment as long there is a need for additional volunteers.

Annunciation House: Cost and Logistics

Volunteers are required to cover the full cost of their volunteer placement. Volunteers are welcome to join breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily at the hospitality sites. Volunteers who want to stay with Annunciation House are generally housed at Casa del Refugiado (CDR) or another of their houses of hospitality. At CDR, former office space has been converted into dorm-style accommodations for volunteers. Volunteers who stay with at one of the hospitality houses will almost certainly be sharing space with other volunteers, so you must be comfortable with this if you are to stay with them. Because Annunciation House is dealing with constantly changing numbers of volunteers and guests, they usually do not know until about a week in advance where we will have any particular volunteer stay.

Please carefully read through the Frequently Asked Questions before submitting an application. Volunteers must be ready to jump into the work following a brief training, and recognize that while you will always be part of a team, there is not capacity for individualized support for volunteers, and you will be expected to take initiative.

RAICES: Volunteer Dates

Volunteers must commit to work from Monday to Thursday from 9AM to 8PM for a minimum of one week. 

Due to the volatile nature of the U.S. immigration system we ask for volunteers to remain flexible as plans can change very quickly, even while in San Antonio. 

Start Dates: Mondays beginning in December 2019

RAICES: Cost and Logistics

Volunteers are responsible for their own travel, housing, and meal costs during their volunteer service. Volunteers can choose to stay in San Antonio or Karnes City, closer to the detention facility. Car-pooling with RAICES staff from San Antonio, Texas to Karnes County Residential Center is available at no cost.

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