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Volunteer Journey: A Primer on U.S. Immigration

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The Adelante Volunteer Journey
Serving and growing together!
Sara Forsythe shares about volunteering in Adelante Arts Community.

Volunteer Journey: A Primer on U.S. Immigration

Dear friends,

With the midterm elections last week and the approaching caravan from Central America, it's not surprising that immigration has been in the news a lot the last few weeks. There was talk of an invasion; troops were sent to the border; an executive order was signed changing the legal process for seeking asylum, and the President suggested that he may use an executive order to end "birthright citizenship."  Our study of Soerens' and Yang's book, Welcoming the Stranger comes at a perfect time!  This edition of the Volunteer Journey will contain highlights and a summary of chapters 2-4, which provide a critical base of knowledge about immigration that can help us build a well-informed understanding of the issues facing us today.

The authors continue in Chapter 2 by addressing the question, "who are undocumented immigrants?".  In doing so, they differentiate between naturalized citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and undocumented immigrants.  Using the stories of Pedro and Martha and Francisco and Allison, they paint a picture of the everyday struggles and decisions that undocumented immigrants face.  They describe some of the many reasons immigrants come to the U.S., why some may come illegally and why others may overstay their visas.  The authors reveal some of the struggles of "mixed-status families" and talk through a common misconception that suggests that undocumented immigrants don't pay taxes.  And what about young people who came to the U.S. illegally with their parents and grew up here?  Soerens and Yang give us a picture into the unique situation of the approximately 800,000 young immigrants known as "Dreamers", who qualified for President Obama's program called "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals." 

"Understanding the history of immigration to the United States will help us have a perspective on how to view and act toward newer immigrants entering the United States." (p.65) The overview presented in Chapter 3 of our book is a fascinating look at our history as it relates to immigration.  The authors organize the thoughts chronologically, highlighting key legislative markers along the way.  I'll list them here as a reference, but you'll have to read the book to get the details!    "Immigration has always been and will remain a defining issue for the United States of America." (p.65) 

  • The Early Days
  • The first great European wave: 1820-1860
  • Indian Removal Act: 1830
  • The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: 1848
  • Chinese Immigration and Exclusion: 1848-1890
  • The Second Great European wave: 1880-1920
  • The Quota System: 1924-1965
  • The Bracero Program: 1942-1964
  • The 1965 Reforms
  • Immigration from the 1970's to today
  • The Refugee Act of 1980
  • The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Over my years at Mission Adelante I've heard countless people ask, "why don't they just come legally?"  In chapter 4 the authors discuss our current immigration system and the pathways to legal status in the U.S.  To summarize, there are four basic categories of immigrant visas. 

  1. Employment-based: Available by petition by a U.S. employer, there is a numerical limit and "the majority of these visas are reserved for individuals who have extraordinary or exceptional ability."
  2. Family-based: Based on close family relationships with the intention of reuniting families.
  3. Diversity Visas: A set number visas distributed by a random lottery of qualifying entrants from underrepresented countries.
  4. Refugees and Asylees: Immigration status granted based on a "well-founded fear of being persecuted" for a handful of specific factors.

With the basic foundation of knowledge presented in these chapters, you will be much better equipped to filter through and process most of the information that is talked about so often these days. If you'd like to jump in on this study, here's the plan.  It's not too late!

  1. Purchase the book and read it at your own pace through the trimester.
  2. Follow along as I process the book through regular Volunteer Journey emails during the trimester.
  3. Join me for a lunch and learn discussion at Mission Adelante on December 6th, 11:30-1:00
Please feel free to participate in as little or as much as you would like!

In His Grace,
Jarrett
Buy "Welcoming the Stranger"

Volunteer Journey Lunch-And-Learn 
Thursday, December 6th, 11:30-1:00

Please mark your calendars!  For those who would like to discuss what you're learning on your journey and/or through your reading of Welcoming the Stranger, we will be hosting a "lunch and learn" for all volunteers.  Lunch will be brought in from a local restaurant, so we will need to get an accurate count.  Please RSVP to jarrettm@missionadelante.org to let us know you're coming!


 
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A Great Serve Opportunity for Individuals, Groups, and Families at Adelante Thrift!

by Jarrett Meek, Pastor/Executive Director, Mission Adelante, Inc.

"We can feel the love of God in this place!"  What an amazing compliment for our brand new thrift store!  I believe that customers have been saying things like this because of volunteers who have gone the extra mile in serving!  It's exciting that the love of Christ can be expressed in so many ways, including through a retail store!  We invite you to be a part of loving and transforming a community by serving as a volunteer at Adelante Thrift!

Adelante Thrift opened it's doors to the public on March 14th, and now we're excited to offer fun, high-impact volunteer opportunities for individuals, groups and families!  With the doors open and all systems "go", volunteers helping with production (sorting, racking, steaming, pricing, and stocking) and department displays (organizing/decorating specific departments) will become one of our most important keys to success.  Keeping items on the shelves, priced low, and organized beautifully attracts customers AND provides the kind of pleasant shopping environment that makes people say, "Wow, somebody really cares!"  That somebody, of course, is Jesus , working through you!  

We invite you to come serve with us and transform community!  Serve once, serve occasionally, or serve on a regular basis!  Serve as an individual, a family, or serve with your group!  You make a difference!  

To sign up, please visit our volunteer page at www.adelantethrift.com/volunteer/!

n other news:

  • Thank you to many generous donors who have helped to stock our LIT snack bucket!

current needs:

  • Our Leaders in Training program has a “Mission Adelante Money Store” at the end of each trimester, where students spend “money” they have earned doing extra work and exhibiting behavior above and beyond what is expected of them to buy small prizes.  Our students have done an amazing job this year, and we need items for the store such as small toys and prizes of interest to 8-12 year old students by Tuesday, March 31st.  If you are interested in helping please contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org or Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org.

English Class at the Pharmacy

Written by Lauren Timberlake, Bhutanese ESL Director

Healthcare is right at the top of the list of immigrant needs. Imagine arriving here with no language skills and lots of medical issues. We want to help meet those needs at Mission Adelante. Bhutanese English classes emphasize practical topics like healthcare because basic English skills are essential to everyday life for refugee families.

Volunteers Joe and Judy Lemaster are skilled healthcare workers who love Nepali people enough to move to Kansas City to serve them better. Joe is a KU Med Center doctor who specializes in refugee health care. He is the primary care physician for a large number of the Bhutanese refugees in Kansas City. Judy is a nurse, and has spent many hours helping refugees make, keep and understand their medical appointments. Both the Lemasters speak fluent Nepali (the language of the Bhutanese refugees) from years spent as missionaries in Nepal.

The Lemasters are constantly helping refugees, but last month Judy taught a special unit on health care to our middle level English class. She covered basic first aid, doctor appointments, and over the counter medicine. To finish the unit, the class visited a local pharmacy.

Students and conversation partners scoured the aisles together, looking for healthcare and hygiene items. They read signs, discussed prices, and reviewed how to use various over the counter medications.

Field trips are an excellent way for us to help bridge the gap from classroom learning to real life applications. When students can practice looking for medicines with a conversation partner, they’re more likely to have the confidence to visit a pharmacy on their own. This helps each immigrant family, and it helps our community by avoiding emergency room visits. 

Our English students are blessed to have so many talented and committed volunteers giving their time to help them navigate life in Kansas City.

In other news:

  • Thanks so much for your prayers for our Hindu friends during this festival season. The biggest festival of the year is now past, and the Lord used it in many ways. Please continue to pray that our friendships with the Bhutanese community would continue to deepen and that the truth of Jesus would shine through them.
  • Ten Bhutanese ESL conversation partners met together this week to brainstorm ways to help students improve literacy skills. We are so thankful to have such talented and committed volunteers.
  • Our Leaders in Training are learning about WWI this year. We shared a very sweet time of prayer on Veteran’s Day, honoring those that have sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy.

Prayer needs:

  • We have engaged a new Realtor to help us with our building search for Adelante Thrift. Please pray that this new partnership would lead us to the perfect space.

Current needs:

  • Our LIT students earn "Mission Adelante Money" for exemplary behavior and doing extra academic work, which they can spend at a Reward Store once each trimester. We're in need of items to stock that store! Ideas include sports equipment, craft supplies, room decorations, or any small item that would appeal to 8-14 year old students. If you would like to contribute, please contact Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org or Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
  • The highlight of the year for each LIT student is our overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge in December! How would you like to bless all of their hard work in a very practical way? We are looking for a small group or an individual to purchase pizza for our lunch (for 30 kids and 20 adults) on Saturday, December 7 and deliver/have it delivered to Great Wolf.  If you are interested, please email Megan at meganm@missionadellante.org.

Important dates:

  • Final Observation Day: Thursday, November 7 (Latino) 6:30-8:30  Have you wondered what all goes on around here on a typical evening of programming?  Here's your opportunity to come and see for yourself!
  • Kansas Bhutanese Concert: Saturday, November 16th from 4pm-10pm at Wyandotte High School (2501 Minnesota Ave, Kansas City, KS 66102)Everyone is invited to come and celebrate Nepali Culture at this exciting event sponsored by Mission Adelante and coordinated by our dear friend Ram Rai. It will feature comedians, cultural dances, and ethnic food. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the RG Asian Store (101 S 18th St, Kansas City, KS66102), or at the door of the event. Don’t miss this chance to learn about and celebrate the rich culture of the Bhutanese Refugee community!
  • Fall Break: No Programs Tuesday, November 26-Saturday, November 30.
  • Latino Christmas Party: Saturday, December 14 at 5:30.  Bethany Community Center (1120 Central Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66102). Everyone is invited! Please invite anyone you know who is interested in learning more about Mission Adelante or possibly volunteering in the future!
  • Bhutanese Christmas Party: Saturday, December 14 from 4:00-8:00. First Baptist Church (2900 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66102). Everyone is invited! Please invite anyone you know who is interested in learning more about Mission Adelante or possibly volunteering in the future!