At Casa de los Amigos, summer starts the day the summer volunteers arrive. This year, we welcomed another extraordinary group. Every summer since 2007, a small group of motivated students from Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges in Pennsylvania has come to the Casa for ten weeks to volunteer, live in community, explore, learn and have tons of fun. The students get involved in everything at the Casa and volunteer with partner organizations.
Over the years we’ve hosted 20 summer interns who have worked with social justice organizations across the city.
They are a whirlwind of enthusiasm, bringing energy, experience and curiosity to our organization and home. This summer Caya, Nathalia, Tracey and Connor’s experience here also reminded us of how Casa de los Amigos has touched so many lives over so many years.
All four summer volunteers came to the Casa after being inspired by the Migration Field Study, a weeklong immersion program run by the Casa each January about migration in Mexico. Caya Simonsen, a senior and Political Science Major at Haverford reflects, “I wanted to return to the Casa ever since I spent an extremely powerful week there during the Migration Field Study of 2012, and this summer I was able to make that happen!”
Tracey Alvarez, a first generation Mexican-American and Anthropology major at Bryn Mawr, was also moved by her experience: “My initial visit to La Casa during the 2013 Migration Field Study enabled me to learn about my families’ own migration story… This opened up a new world of interest and passion.” Both Caya and Tracey worked at Tochan, the migrant shelter in the city that the Casa helps coordinate. They continued learning about the issue, while working directly with Mexico City’s migrant population. Both were profoundly impacted by their experience and recommitted themselves to study and be active on migrant issues. Connor Bralla worked with Barrio Activo, a non-profit that works with youth in a marginalized neighborhood. Over his summer at the Casa he improved his Spanish, learned how to cook, how to organized a fundraising dinner for twenty people, how to live in community and try to solve problems as a group. He also learned that he enjoyed working with kids – something he didn’t expect. The Casa community is a powerful witness, and the interns are part of it. Caya reflecs, “After spending a summer at the Casa, I feel inspired by the way the people I’ve lived and worked with there are living out their values, and truly dedicated to social justice, simplicity, doing their work with integrity, and recognizing the dignity of each person who enters the Casa.”
The Casa experience can also last a lifetime. Tracey says, “In all honesty, La Casa truly changed the course of my life – academically, personally, and even spiritually! My entire stay at La Casa this summer came with an unexpected spiritual transformation that I am so grateful for and that I will carry with me wherever I go.” Every day at the Casa, we work to create a dynamic community that fosters friendship and understanding across borders, languages, generations, religions and cultures. We do it through our volunteer programs and community space, our social justice-oriented guest house, our work with refugees, and our support for economic alternatives. We depend on Casa supporters to make all of this possible
In peace and friendship,
Hayley and the Casa team