Student volunteers for the Guardian Angels ministries met at the SWCA Synod offices with Latino Ministries Coordinator Maria Paiva earlier this month. These college students – team leader Valeria Avalos, a senior at UCLA; Shannon Burghardt, a junior at CSULA; Sarahi Cano, a sophomore at CSULB; Aaliyah Hayes, a junior at CSULB; and Glafira Lopez, a junior at UCLA – have been spending their summer in Los Angeles courts, accompanying child refugees fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The SWCA Guardian Angels volunteers monitor these children’s legal cases and advocate for their rights, connecting them with legal resources and providing emotional and spiritual support.
SWCA Synod Pastor Alexia Salvatierra spoke at the Women of the ELCA’s 10th Triennial Gathering this July about the work of Guardian Angels and ELCA AMMPARO, a holistic, whole church commitment by to accompany children today and in the future.
In the Southwest California Synod, we called some of the immigration lawyers that we knew, and we said what’s needed? What do you need the church to do? And they said well, you know, these kids are in court, and they don’t have lawyers, and they are terribly alone. Can you imagine being 15 and showing up in a country where you don’t speak the language and don’t have any money and being expected to defend yourself in court? So our legal friends said can you go down and accompany them? Can you just be with them…Accompany and watch. Monitor to see whether or not the judges are treating the kids right. We are there in court. We are there to accompany.
For more information about the Guardian Angel program, contact Pastor Alexia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in receiving information about Guardian Angel, Sanctuary/Welcoming Congregations, and the Matthew 25 Movement, please email Samantha at email@example.com.