Endeavors’ Migrant Services: Helping Children & Families In Crisis
Last Updated: 09 Mar 2021
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Providing migrant families with both individual and family therapeutic services allows our qualified providers to help ease our clients’ stress and anxiety as they navigate their lives in the U.S.
As a nonprofit headquartered in San Antonio, TX, Endeavors has years of experience working with people and businesses of diverse cultural backgrounds. In fact, we have been serving migrants since 2012. We know that San Antonio’s history, cultural scene, economy, and quality of life are so rich because of the many transplants — domestic and international — who have chosen to call it home. From the San Antonians whose Mexican ancestors have lived here since before the Alamo to the migrant families and individuals bringing their talent, ideas, and drive to our city today, our diversity makes Military City, USA stronger, richer, and more beautiful in every way.
But the truth is, not all migrants have an easy start in crossing into the country or integrating into our communities. In particular, migrant children have been making the perilous journey across the southern border alone for years. They do so fleeing strife, poverty, and oppression in their countries of origin, and often in the hope of being reunited with family and parents who made the journey before them. As they arrive, they encounter a very complex immigration process and a country unfamiliar to them. These children can also encounter bad actors who seek to exploit them either for work or other more sinister purposes. Unaccompanied children come not only to Texas but to all states along the U.S. southern border. As they arrive and go through an intricate and daunting immigration process, they are in need of shelter, mental health resources, and the ability to be safely reunited with relatives in our country. Endeavors’ recognizes the need and assists children who are in need of qualified child welfare professionals ready to help them.
At Endeavors, we’re in the business of helping people in need, and for years, children and adult migrants have been coming to the United States to flee unimaginable violence and pain, hoping that there might be life, kindness, and stability on the other side. Moreover, we are also working as a national sub-provider to the U.S. Government to serve migrant families with holistic wrap-around mental health services in over 19 cities, including all major metropolitan areas in the State of Texas. Providing migrant families with both individual and family therapeutic services allows our qualified providers to help ease our clients’ stress and anxiety as they navigate their lives in the U.S.
Helping Neighbors Who Have Run Out Of Options
In her essay, “On The Choices People Make In Coming To America,” writer and former immigration interpreter Valeria Luiselli shares her experience interviewing unaccompanied migrant children in court and translating their stories from Spanish to English. “Why did you come to the United States?” she asks them. We think she says it best when she writes:
Their answers vary, but they often point to a single pull factor: reunification with a parent or another close relative who migrated to the US years earlier. Other times, the answers point to push factors—the unthinkable circumstances the children are fleeing: extreme violence, persecution and coercion by gangs, mental and physical abuse, forced labor, neglect, abandonment. It is not even the American Dream that they pursue, but rather the more modest aspiration to wake up from the nightmare into which they were born.
The stories behind how and why so many children — some barely toddlers — are finding themselves alone in a foreign country are some of the most heartbreaking we’ve ever heard. While some migrants come to the United States for family, employment, or educational reasons, many feel they must leave their home country because of poverty, political unrest, gang violence, natural disasters, or other serious circumstances. It is hard for us to imagine living in conditions so horrific that we would willingly send our children on one of the most dangerous journeys hoping that they might have a better life. And yet, for millions of people, these conditions are their every-day reality.
At the end of her essay Luiselli asks a heartbreaking yet illuminating question: “Were they to find themselves alone, crossing borders and countries, would my own children survive?”
This question haunts us. The bottom line is: if our children were crossing borders alone, we’d want people like us waiting to help them on the other side.
Endeavors Migrant Services
With the help of federal funding, Endeavors has expanded to create a migrant services pillar, to support asylum-seekers, as well as a broader population, crossing our borders. We have been supporting these communities now since 2012.
Who is an asylum-seeker? An asylum-seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country but who hasn’t yet been legally recognized as a refugee and is waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim. At Endeavors, we see asylum-seeking as a human right, and we see helping asylum-seekers build a safer and better life as our honor and duty as Americans.
Under Endeavors’ Migrant Services pillar, we operate a Migrant Wellness program and employ a Children and Family Services division to serve migrant individuals, families, and unaccompanied children nation-wide.
Migrant Wellness: Providing Migrants a Healthy Transition to a Stable and Secure Life
Our Migrant Wellness program provides invaluable mental health and wellness services to individuals and families who have migrated to the United States due to desperate and dangerous circumstances. The trauma that adults and young children can experience during migration doesn’t end when they cross the United States border. The cultural and linguistic adjustments alone can cause significant distress, let alone the anxiety of experiencing homelessness in a new country, with no job or means of accessing food, shelter, or basic necessities.
For years, Endeavors’ clinicians have been serving post-9/11 Veterans and their families, single mothers with disabilities, and individuals experiencing chronic homelessness with exemplary one-on-one mental health care. We are trained, licensed experts with years of experience in victim services, therapeutic regimens, and vital educational resources. Through our program, individuals and families seeking protection in the U.S. will have access to Comprehensive Mental Health Screening and Evaluation, Individual and Family Therapy, and Human Trafficking and Victim Educational Classes at Endeavors facilities in El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, Charleston, and Charlotte. We know how to help people who have gone through tremendous difficulty navigate a healthy transition to a new, stable, and secure life.
But Endeavors’ migrant services don’t end there.
Children And Family Services: Reuniting Vulnerable Children With Loving Families
Helping unaccompanied children who have migrated to the United States is deeply important to us. In fact, for years Endeavors has been providing Home Study Post Release Services (HSPRS) for children in Texas through our Children and Family Services division. We are now able to extend our care and expertise to the many unaccompanied children and their generous sponsors nationwide. Whatever circumstances lead a child to find themselves as an unaccompanied migrant, our ultimate goal is to reunify them with a loving and caring family member or sponsor.
The first step is to provide a safe and supportive shelter for these children with nowhere to go. Once these children are safe and cared for, we’ll ensure the safe placement of unaccompanied children by completing home studies of family and/ or sponsors before they are released to them. Then, we’ll facilitate a smooth transition from the shelter to the sponsor’s home, assisting both children and sponsors in connecting to their communities, as well as various resources available to them.
We’re honored to work very closely with families and sponsors to help integrate these children into their new home, school, and community. In fact, our teams actually work one-on-one with sponsors to teach them how to provide care and support for these children who have survived an incredible journey and who very likely carry significant trauma.
Together, We Can Make A Difference
At Endeavors, we believe that comprehensive and compassionate care is the future of managing migration — that by extending our hearts and hands to humanitarian asylum seekers, we can make our country and our world a better place for all.
We can all do something to help. While Endeavors’ team is on the ground, working one-on-one with our migrant clients, you can help us give them the best humanitarian care possible. Your support could provide even more communities the resources to build better lives for themselves and their families. To make a donation of any size, contact us at [email protected].
Endeavors, a San Antonio-based nonprofit, is a longstanding national nonprofit agency that provides an array of programs and services supporting children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness, disabilities, disasters, or emergencies. Endeavors has served vulnerable people in need since 1969 through personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.