Posted by jessica


It’s been a busy four months for the family! Five changes of residence, school enrollments, biweekly check-ins at ICE offices, and doctor visits, not to mention meeting dozens of people who have helped in a myriad of ways. Despite the challenges, however, life goes on bringing growth and joy.

Rosa finally got her ankle monitor removed, but she still must head downtown every other week to check in with the monitoring company. I’m working with her to learn the Pasadena and LA metro systems so that she does not continue to remain dependent on others for transportation.

The girls are currently enrolled at Madison Elementary. Allison, age ten, is in 4th grade and would benefit from more support services. If anyone has experience with educational advocacy I’d love to hear from you!  Kimberly, age five, is in Kindergarten and is already learning English. Both girls are making friends and they enjoy going to school.

Jeison recently turned three and exhibits every possible characteristic of his developmental level. He’s an active child who would benefit greatly from preschool and exposure to other children. At this point, he and his younger brother Stiven (nine months) are at home all day. Rosa has applied for child care, but her situation is not a priority. We’re optimistic that Jeison will enter preschool in August, which would be good for everyone.

Last month, students in the Social Justice class at Sequoyah School offered to work with the family at least one afternoon a week. So far the three oldest children have thrived under the students’ attention! The students, nearly all of whom speak at least some Spanish, lavish healthy attention on the kids, playing and reading with them on Sequoyah’s high school campus. The students even threw a party for Jeison’s 3rd birthday at Victory Park, even though the school was on spring break. The children love the students and the class is careful to ask for guidance before undertaking any project. It’s been a wonderful alliance so far.

Stable housing remains a major priority for the family. They have been sharing a small condo with an incredibly generous NUUC member, but as the children (especially Stiven, the baby) grow, it’s clear that the family needs a place of their own. Our preference is a 1-BR within walking distance of Madison Elementary costing about $1500/month (the school’s boundaries are Lake Ave and Summit Ave, and north of the 210 to Mountain). If anyone knows landlords (or tenants) in that area, PLEASE let me know. She has some funds but does not have a credit record or employment (we have someone who is willing to co-sign if needed).

Specific needs (in addition to housing):
–Driver for biweekly immigration-related Thursday morning
appointments downtown. These are usually at 9:20 am and the total wait
and appointment time is one hour. She will have the two youngest
children with her and she does have car seats.
–Someone with education advocacy experience
–The family lives two blocks from Victory Park and the kids love the
playground. If anyone is willing to take the three oldest on a play
date there, that would be great.
–Bilingual books, or children’s books in Spanish. We’re encouraging Rosa to
read to all of them, and she cannot read English. Spanish language
versions of grade 2-4 chapter books are especially welcome.

We are grateful to everyone who is supporting the family on this journey. There’s still a long way to go. We anticipate Rosa’s asylum application won’t be filed until December 2019, and her hearing likely won’t happen for a year after that. But thanks to the efforts of our extended community, they are off to a good start!

Suzanne Smith