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    Posted June 30, 2014 by
    Edingburg, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    President’s immigration plan: Your views

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    Optimism for a New Beginning By: Diana Briseno & Doris Ugwa

    Giving back is one of the valuable virtues people tend to teach their children as they grow up. On the second week of June of 2014, a group high school students from KIPP Houston along with a group of IDEA students from Mission,Texas in the Valley area went down to the city of Edinburg, Pharr, San Juan and Brownsville to give back their time and effort to the community. The students not only touched the hearts of many individuals throughout the week, but in the end, the students were able to learn valuable lessons from each individual’s story. One of the sites they volunteered at helped immigrants who had a passion for a new start in life; the non-profit organization was a homeless shelter led by a group of nuns named La Posada Providencia.

    During the visit, the two groups of students had the chance to have conversations with some of the immigrants; they learned that from no matter where one is from, everyone has that little spark of optimism and hope that their future will turn out well for them. There were residences from both Latin and African countries that captivated the students with their remarkable background. For instance, a man from Cuba informed the group of having a passion for chess, going on national chess competitions, and an ability to teach others. He went to Mexico for a competition and his team won. After two days of the competition, he saw the opportunity of migrating to the U.S. Because he was seeking asylum from a communist country, he was given the I-94. La Posada Providencia has been helping begin his American life so he can begin working at school to spread his passion.

    Another group of students taught some of the clients the ropes of U. S government and how it works in order for them to be prepared for their immigration questionnaires once they go to their court dues. One of the clients from Eritrea captivated the students with his heart- wrenching anecdote of how he was imprisoned without an effective reason. He later escaped and ran away to the near-by country of Sudan where he met a man that promised him a gateway to safety. He was brought to Brazil and marched through all the Latin countries in order to find refuge at La Posada Providencia. He was granted a court date because the border patrol agents had verified his case as being a matter of asylum seeking, since he was only awaited death if transported back to Eritrea.

    Stories and life struggles like these really surprised the students when they see the optimistic smiles and hopeful eyes of these immigrants fighting for their own pursuit of happiness. Most of these people had times that they could’ve easily given up and surrendered but they kept on pursuing because of that spark of hope and optimism that they students can all relate well to.
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