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    Immersing students in real stories, real lives

    Day 242

    Lived Experience

    “It’s not a migrant issue or even a Southwest issue. It’s a people issue.”

    That’s why the Sisters of Notre Dame in Douglas, Arizona always have a full house.

    They open up their home so that people can experience exactly what’s happening on the border. Just stepping into the harsh desert alone gives you more context – there is no way to fathom the journey across this inhospitable landscape.

    School groups from the Northern United States frequently come down to stay with the Sisters. And they feel a special connection to students because most of them were teachers themselves.

    Many times these visiting high school students are Latino, and want to see what’s happening firsthand. “I remember a time when were took a group of high school students from New Jersey into the desert,” she said, “and a particular student came to a cross and read the name. She exclaimed and thanked God it wasn’t her father’s name on the that cross.”

    I too was grateful to have made the journey to the border to see for myself the realities on the ground. I thought about how I might view the world differently if I also had the opportunity to have this experience at a younger age. I believe I would have been better for it.

    To help continue and expand their educational work, I was delighted that we were able to help these Sisters start a scholarship fund for schools to bring low-income children on these tours. “It’s all about the sense of realities that are formed.”


    Meet Jilla! Growing up as an immigrant in Minnesota, Jilla learned the value of community from an early age. Throughout her youth, Girl Scouts helped to ground her in that community, nurturing a strong love of where she lives and giving back to the people around her. As the Global Quality & Results Officer at Alight, she supports teams in using data in ways that showcase the humanity of the customer behind each data point. Fun fact, she earned the honor of representing her home locally and internationally as the 2018 St. Paul Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows. She even received a crown and resided over a real-life ice palace!


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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

    Let's Connect!