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    A warm welcome for all - and especially kids - who come to the Inn Project

    Day 52

    With Open Arms

    The Inn Project in Tucson, Arizona, meets people at the end of one part of their journey – but when the next chapter is just beginning.

    The Project acts as a shelter for people who have gone through the immigration process at the border, but who have yet to go to where their case will be fully reviewed.

    But the staff at the Inn Project provide much more than a simple transition shelter. It’s also a place for families to take a deep breath, to get some questions answered. To be welcomed and unafraid.

    “We work really hard to ensure that this is a welcoming place,” says Gretchen, one of the lead coordinators. “That’s what inspires me.”

    One of the ways they can be most welcoming – especially to families – is by having spaces dedicated to children. They’re cooped up in the shelter for most of the day, which, as you can imagine, can be particularly tough for the energetic little ones.

    “We really want to make our kids’ area nice,” said Gretchen. “They should be able to have fun. And the parents can feel a sense of relief, too.”

    With a little bit of elbow grease, we were able to transform the children’s play area with play mats, new toys, whimsical decorations for the walls, and a few organizing tools to tidy things up.

    Instead of a bare room with a few toys thrown around, the space now felt like it belonged to the kids. Like it was an intentional playroom, just for them.

    “Wow!” said Gretchen with a wide grin as she surveyed the area for the first time. “They’re going to love this. This makes me so happy.”

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