Over the past few months, there have been a significant number of unaccompanied and undocumented immigrant children coming to the U.S. Many of these children are being brought to Arizona for processing. At one point, there were hundreds of children being housed in a makeshift facility in Nogales. These children had been transferred from Texas, where federal officials were overwhelmed with the high number of Central American minors being apprehended near the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
Since this began, residents in Southern Arizona and other parts of the region have been asked to donate clothes, money, and other necessities that these children have been deprived of since making the journey from their home countries in Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border.
While there are many who have donated to the cause, there is one individual who is taking it one step further. Julia Tognotti, a 17-year-old from San Francisco, decided to make it her mission to spread awareness of the border crisis. As abc7news.com reports, Julia decided to help after watching a documentary about Central American children traveling to the U.S. You can read the full article here.
Since watching the documentary in her Spanish class, Julia has sent two shipments of clothes to border towns. She wanted the clothes to go to migrants in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico. She has been going to neighbors and friends, asking if they have clothing to donate to help the cause. She said she was motivated to actively participate in helping these children after she took a trip to Nogales toward the beginning of the summer. During that time, she was a volunteer at a shelter for migrants.
While she was volunteering, she met a young man named Brian: “He was 17 and I'm 17,” she said. “He was from Honduras and it took him two months to get to Mexico and he took seven trains.” She stated that hearing his story surprised her and made her wonder if she could do the same thing.
She believes that if more people knew about the situation, there would be more aid. She noted that it can sometimes be difficult for younger people to fully “understand what's going on.” For Julia and her parents, it's important “not to get tangled up in the politics of the issue.” As her father sees it, he has a young daughter who is trying to do her part to help and he wants to support that.
Julia plans to continue collecting clothes and send more shipments of needed items to the border. “I can only do so much, but I feel like at least by sending donations, it's helping,” she said. She is also planning on organizing a second trip to the U.S.-Mexico border once school begins again in the fall.
Julia is just one example of how even one person can make a difference during this humanitarian crisis and I applaud her efforts. Have you heard of stories similar to Julia's? What has inspired you to help?