Today we talk about something close to our hearts. The Global Adolescent Project, G.A.P. This organization was born out of necessity, to fill a void — a gap — in youth services. Elle Anderson our devoted team leader here are elleaevents who is on the board for GAP, had inspired us all to help and support this amazing organization.
Global Adolescent Project was launched in July, 2010, in one of the largest IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in post-earthquake Port au Prince, Haiti. The earthquake took the lives of 200 – 300,000 people, while leaving 1.5 million homeless, most of whom gathered what was left of their belongings and set up camp in any open space available. Even though they are currently housing, schooling, feeding, and clothing orphans in Haiti, there is now a new challenge.
GAP Create Initiative; Separated Families
The challenge; As a matter of policy, the US government is separating families who seek asylum in the US by crossing the border illegally. Between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, at least 2,700 children have been split from their parents. 1,995 of them were separated over six weeks of that window — April 18 to May 31 — indicating that at present, an average of 45 children are being taken from their parents each day. When this happens, the parents are put in federal then immigration custody while the kids are then labelled as unaccompanied minors. Often the parents and the children end up in different states and while the parents are still in detention it is then hard to track where everyone is.
Dr. Nancy Sobel of Global Adolescent Project (G.A.P.) has been discussing the issue with an organization in Los Angeles whose mission is to provide legal representation of these people. The organization, Esperanza, has been working with the vulnerable immigrant population for over fifteen years. The staff at Esperanza have explained that the kids and their parents have many needs in addition to legal representation and these needs go beyond the scope of what Esperanza can provide. Because the mission of GAP is to work with disenfranchised youth and the mission of GAPCreate is to build communities for recovery and trauma education, this partnership is a natural fit.
The impact of Family separation; On May 29, 2018 the APA President Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD made a statement regarding the traumatic effects of separating immigrant families and the deleterious impact on the health and well-being of children and families who are separated as they seek to enter the United States without proper documentation: “The administration’s policy of separating children from their families as they attempt to cross into the United States without documentation is not only needless and cruel, it threatens the mental and physical health of both the children and their caregivers. Psychological research shows that immigrants experience unique stressors related to the conditions that led them to flee their home countries in the first place. The longer that children and parents are separated, the greater the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression for the children. Negative outcomes for children include psychological distress, academic difficulties and disruptions in their development…”
Action; In partnership with Esperanza, GAP will form a network to respond to the psychosocial needs of the separated families. Esperanza has collated information and included current needs as the kids come back to the community. The database includes, age, language spoken, circumstances for seeking immigration and the separation situation as well as current needs including mental health, housing and education. They also continue to see large numbers of kids who are arriving on their own and have their own horror stories to tell.
We are looking for volunteers for the following tasks; Translation, (primarily Spanish but also Mayan) at court, legal consultation, mental health services Mental health services (licensed only).
Clothing and shoes, we will let you know the sizes as our database is completed.
Housing and Bedding.
Educational materials, such as books, school supplies, art supplies.
Transportation, to and from court and legal appointments, other social support
Teaching English as a second language.
If you want to volunteer, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please let us know that you want this to go to the separated families initiative.
Checks can be made to
Global Adolescent Project and sent to
11340 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 155,
LA, CA 90064
Donations to GAP will cover psychosocial needs of these families including;
mental health and other social services
travel costs to reunite families and to attend social service and legal appointments
Although Esperanza attorneys are very experienced in working with trauma survivors, and will prioritize their cases, they are “fitting” the cases under one of their current contracts. However, if other funding was available for their legal representation, those “spots” in the contract would go to other unaccompanied minors.
P.S. Spread the news, this is a good cause to help suffering children.