Lives change when students connect with people in the wider community. Angels gain insight and empowerment as they help repair homes in rural West Virginia, mitigate storm damage in Puerto Rico, and prepare meals at humanitarian aid centers for migrants at the Mexican border.
Students have the opportunity to participate in two different mission trips, either a visit to Arizona or Texas. Both options allow Angels to take an in-depth look at immigration issues.
Located in the desert of southeast Arizona, Comunidad Enlaces de Esperanza is the point where Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, Mexico, have formed a binational, bicultural community. AHA partners with agencies that are concerned with migrants and work toward the transformation of the current immigration system. Students visit a humanitarian aid center for migrants, a migrant shelter that offers carpentry training, Douglas-Prieta Trabajan (a sewing and gardening cooperative), Café Justo, and a clinic for special needs children and their families.
Arizona Border Experience opportunities may include:
• A Visit to a Border Patrol Station
• Observe legal proceedings (Tucson)
• Cross Planting for Deceased Migrants
• Healing Our Borders Vigil
• Carrying Water into the Desert
Students volunteer at the McAllen Humanitarian Center, where they interact with migrant children and families who have been admitted to the USA. Students learn directly from the refugees who stop at the center to rest and eat. Angel volunteers also tour the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan de Valle National Shrine, spend time at the Rio Grande and pray near the border wall, and hear presentations from an immigration attorney and a border patrol agent.
Students spend a week a Nazareth Farm, a Catholic community in rural West Virginia that transforms lives through a service-retreat experience. The team at Nazareth Farm is devoted to living out the gospel message through the cornerstones of community, simplicity, prayer, and service. Volunteers help address substandard housing by providing home repairs. Together, the Nazareth Farm team and AHA volunteers celebrate the richness of Appalachia and experience God as they build relationships with each other and within the local community. (From: www:nazarethfarm.org)
Groups of AHA volunteers travel to Puerto Rico to help the island recover from a series of hurricanes. Teams of Angels and their chaperones work on projects that include restoring private homes and farms that have been damaged by salt water.