Giving Immigrants a Voice in their Education, Community and Future
The SSJ Welcome Center is committed to empowering our clients and students to make structural and institutional changes in their communities outside the SSJ Welcome Center.
In 2013 the Programs for Education, Awareness, Collaboration, and Empowerment for Immigrants (PEACE program) was created through the collaboration between student leaders and the Welcome Center staff. The PEACE program began with a steering committee of six women and has progressed into a support and empowerment group. Currently the PEACE program is composed of sixteen women who choose various session topics to meet the needs of the group, stay informed on various issues to share with their community, and become involved in advocacy movements in the greater Philadelphia regions.
This past year information sessions led by PEACE group members included:
- The new Executive Immigration Action
- Spanish resources for special needs children
- The location of food banks and soup kitchens.
In addition to member-led sessions, the PEACE group also hosts presenters: An immigration information session was provided by a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited Welcome Center staff member; and in April, Azucena Ugarte, a presenter from Women Against Abuse, informed the group about signs of domestic abuse, different kinds of abuse, and what to do if they find themselves in an abusive situation.
It is the goal of the SSJ Welcome Center that the PEACE group members reach out to immigrants who are not connected with the Center to inform them of their rights, changes in immigration policies, qualifications for DACA, social services that are available, and other significant information they learn in meetings. As the members of the immigrant community are their own best ambassadors, the women spread this information so that the immigrant community can best serve and advocate for itself.