Migrant Program

The Problem

Did you know that immigrants are nearly twice as likely to be living under the poverty line as native U.S. citizens? With a rapidly growing immigrant population in our community, our SERVE (Students Enjoying Rewarding Volunteer Experiences) Do Something Club of Montgomery High School in Kentucky decided to partner with the Migrant Education Program to help the local migrant population. It’s very important that migrant workers are supported by the communities in which they live; this support system can facilitate monumental changes in the lives of these people. The main purpose of our program is to help the immigrant population not only feel comfortable in their own community, but provide them with key resources for their families and children to succeed. Our program introduces community resources to migrant workers by holding informative events about healthcare, workers rights, etc. Our club members also work with their kids to design crafts, play educational interactive games and help them with their schoolwork. Last year over 60 families got involved! We couldn’t have imagined a better turn out. All of our club members really enjoyed working with these families to help change their lives.Thinking about starting a similar program in your community? This is how you can do it:1) First ask yourself a couple questions: Does your community have a large immigrant or migrant worker population?  What problems are they facing?  What kind of services could you offer that aren’t already being offered?2) Enlist your local PTA and other local community organizations to help run information sessions. It’s a good idea to translate all written material and have translators present at your information sessions for those who don’t speak English. 3) Brainstorm fun craft projects you can do with kids.  In addition, have your school help determine what subjects most students need help with, so you can secure the best tutors for the job.4) Contact local stores for donations of items and goodies for your events. Don’t forget to check for grant opportunities to help you with the program, (like Do Something’s GameStop Youth Grant, www.dosomething.org/grants)  5) The key to the success of this project is advertising; produce fliers, brochures, and anything that spreads the word. See if your school or local businesses can include this project in their newsletters or help you spread the word in other ways. Our SERVE club has been active for six years and this year we decided to partner up with Do Something. Do Something is a great resource for us; they can provide our club with more resources, help our club grow, and most of all, they care about getting young people involved in helping others. While our SERVE club did not start this program on our own, our club has been a crucial part of making this program a success. When this program started hardly anyone was aware that it existed. With the help of SERVE we were able to get more families involved and help this program shine. The program also needed more people to help run smoothly. The program was run by four women in our community and they couldn’t do it on there own. SERVE pitched in to fill that gap and help workers with the workload. We constantly made sure that members were at these sessions so that we could help these families that needed support. I am glad that the Migrant Program asked us to help with the program so we could make a life-changing event happen in our community. We could finally reach a community of people that needed us the most. Without SERVE participating some of these families may have not been reached. I hope that all of you reading this article right now get involved with something in your school or community and start a Do Something Club. I believe in all of you and know that you can get out there and show your community that you care. It is the most rewarding experience to help change someone’s life. The impact you make today will help make our future brighter for the generations to come. So get out there, get to work, and DO SOMETHING!!! 

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