L-R: Sisters Gabriella Crowley, Sheila Schnell, Janet Horstman, Pegge Boehm, and lay woman Astrid Rosario
We thank you for walking with our immigrant sisters and brothers during this Year of Mercy….
To instruct English to the immigrant
Between 75-100 Latinos were enrolled in four different levels of English classes during Spring and Fall. Four English teachers, and as many substitute teachers, volunteer their time and talent for these students. Here is a story about one of the students who came faithfully during the Fall 2015 semester: On one of the night’s classes, our English teacher asked the class if there was an actual experience they had in the past week that gave rise to know more English. Maria immediately raised her hand. She wanted to know how to order from all the different types of chicken – thighs, drumsticks, breasts, wings as well as the many ways it can be prepared: baked, grilled, fried, and charcoal roasted! The English teacher spent most of the night teaching the vocabulary and then having the students role-play ordering the chicken! Well, the next week, Maria came running into class with a smile as big as the classroom and announced, “I DID IT!” She has already registered for the next semester’s English classes.
To counsel about immigration and provide immigration legal services
Sister Janet is an accredited immigration specialist. In that role, she has reunited countless families from the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. She has assisted as many to become citizens. Astrid is one of those who became a citizen this past year and benefitted from Sister Janet’s expertise.
To clothe those in need of warmth
During the coldest time of the year in South Dakota – January – Caminando Juntos partnered with the Christian radio station, Life 96.5 and the seven Sioux Falls Hy-Vee stores for the WARM A NEIGHBOR Project. People with big hearts donated caps, mittens, scarfs, socks and jackets, warming the hearts and hands of men, women, children, the young and the old! We also thank our Sisters and cojourners for assisting in the gathering of these much needed items.
To feed the hungry, shelter the homeless
Many people knock on our door asking for ways to feed their family and find affordable housing. You have made it possible to hire our new Administrative Assistant, Astrid Rosario. She came to Caminando Juntos in January, 2015. Of Guatemalan descent, she ministers with an understanding of both the Spanish language and the culture from which many of our people come. She knows the network of resources available, so when someone needs food, she directs them to local resources. Donors have also provided food cards, which are given to clients on a case-by-case basis. Slightly used furniture is available from a nearby non-profit organization, The Furniture Mission. Many of our people need assistance in navigating the complex social services and health systems. One woman, who just started a home-based business of making Mexican tamales, came into the office one day to find out how to prepare an income and expense report. She thought all she needed to do was put down her grocery list. Next month when she returns, we’ll “accompany” her through the process and hopefully, the next time you hear from us, she’ll be a pro at it!
Pope Francis has declared this year as the YEAR OF MERCY, of compassionate love! Valentine’s is a good time to thank you for supporting Caminando Juntos and walking together with us to live out Jesus’ call of mercy.
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