Cathedral parishioner and ICCS senior Olivia Stonecipher (right) is part of a delegation that traveled from Memphis to McAllen, Texas on July 4 to assist refugees at the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley (CCRGV) Humanitarian Respite Center. Comprised of local Catholic Charities staff, community leaders, and high school students, the group will remain in McAllen through July 11 serving refugees who have been processed by U.S. officials after crossing the border.
After one day, Olivia said she is moved by the experience, "On my first day at the Respite Center, I expected to work solely with volunteers and staff. In reality, I made very close bonds with families, especially the children. Many drew pictures for me and signed their name so I will never forget them. While talking to children, many asked me to read them books in English and translate after each page. I loved helping them learn basic English, even if they would forget it by the next morning. I learned heartbreaking and encouraging stories. The perspective I viewed was one not often told in the media. I made memories that I will definitely never forget. I am so excited to spend another week here and to hopefully be a first friend to families arriving in a country with many opportunities for them and their children."