A smile, some school supplies, and a new pair of shoes go a long way to help children feel welcome and safe who recently arrived to Dallas-area schools, unsure of what their future holds.
Staff from World Vision’s North Texas field site recently provided books, school supplies, hygiene kits, shoes, and blankets to immigrant children visiting the Dallas Independent School District’s center for new students. At the center, district staff members assess the children’s aptitude, provide school district orientation, and help them register for class.
The recipients include children who came unaccompanied from Central America in a continuing humanitarian crisis. The center has served 1,700 students since August 2014 from countries around the world, including El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, and Kenya.
From October 2014 through June 2015, more than 26,600 children entered the U.S. through Mexico, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In June 2014, World Vision began working with churches and community partners across the U.S. to supply unaccompanied children with clothing, school supplies, activities, and other resources. Many of those children and youth arrive in the U.S. with little more than the clothes on their backs.
“It’s been almost a year since we heard about thousands of children and youth traveling from Latin America to North America to escape traumatic events in their home countries,” says Phyllis Freeman, national disaster response director for World Vision's U.S. Programs.
Marlene Yepez-Porras, a parent and community liaison specialist for the new-student center, says the items provided by World Vision make a difference.
The World Vision supplies include a book titled “Fearless & Friends” that encourages children to persevere and overcome fears.
“Every time a student walks into our offices, they are receiving that as a welcome,” Marlene says. “Everything helps students feel comfortable and accepted.
“We’ve seen a lot of smiles and thankfulness. You receive shoes. Who doesn’t need [new] shoes to start school?”
Photo© Courtesy Dallas Independent School District
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