Advocacy and Listening to Others

Over the past two weeks I have been working closely with two families who have been referred to the social services department. One of the families needed help obtaining laptops from their school district. Although at first glance this seems like an easy task, it becomes difficult when the family only speaks Spanish and there is no Spanish-speaking staff on site. The children in the family have been completing homework on their mother’s school devices and even after multiple promises that their children would receive a laptop just like all the other kids in the school, none was given. It was my job to assess the situation and hopefully obtain laptops for the children. It took several calls and emails to even connect with someone in the school. Then, it was explained to me that there was a different coordinator handling laptops to the Spanish-speaking students and that they had neglected to hand out laptops to them. After several more calls, I finally reached a person who could help and a couple days later the family received a laptop. 

Advocacy and listening to others is an essential part of my job. You must be able to advocate on behalf of your clients so that they can get the resources that they need. The laptop situation is just one example of some of the things I am asked to do. Others include connecting families to affordable mental or medical health services, helping children sign up for classes or connecting clients to resources that can help them receive financial help for rent or food. Undocumented immigrant families are a vulnerable population, especially if there is a language barrier, and oftentimes administrative staff or schools seem to neglect this population. If someone from our organization had not helped the family with the laptops, their children would still have to have continued school through using a phone (although it has already been one month that they had to do that). Although, all children should have access to the same equitable education, and that is why our work is important so that their rights are not violated. After working with a couple of families, I am eager to help more people throughout the summer and contribute to a more equitable place for immigrants.