Guest Speaker Discusses Her Work with Immigrant Youth
Collegiate School’s International Emerging Leaders - Americas class today welcomed Deirdre Gill, youth programs coordinator at Sacred Heart Center, a nonprofit serving Richmond’s Latino community. Ms. Gill spoke about the current migration of people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala through Mexico to the United States.
“These people are leaving their countries to escape gang violence and police corruption,” Ms. Gill said. “To reach the U.S., they cross the border in very remote and barren areas, which makes the journey even riskier.”
This spring, the IEL- Americas class, which is taught by Erica Coffey, is assisting Sacred Heart on several projects, including creating a manual and developing a hiring screening process, and will visit the center next week. In April, the class will present their finalized work to the organization.
Ms. Gill, a former English as a Second Language teacher in Chesterfield and Henrico counties, discussed her experience with No Más Muertes, a humanitarian aid group that helps migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, in Arizona, as well as her work with asylum-seeking women and children with the CARA Pro Bono Project at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Texas.
“While there are thousands of these immigrants across the country, there are many right here in the Greater Richmond area,” Ms. Gill said.
Mrs. Coffey said it’s important for studentsto hear from people working in the community like Ms. Gill.
"(They) need to be informed of the issues affecting our world and our neighborhood," she said.