On August 7, 2019 - August 9, 2019 the San Antonio Council for International Visitors welcomed a delegation of visitors from various regions in Mexico to learn more about addressing the needs of underserved and at-risk youth. The visitors had previously visited Washington D.C, Chicago, and Los Angeles, before making their way to the Alamo City before returning home. Here, they were able to visit organizations such as Haven for Hope, The Boys and Girls Club, Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, AVANCE, and many other programs that help disadvantaged youth.
On August 7, the group first met at Haven for Hope to speak to volunteers, tour the campus, and learn more about how it aids in combating homelessness in Bexar County. After the tour of the one of a kind facility, they had the opportunity to ask questions about how Have for Hope helps the homeless re-enter society and become more self-sustaining. This brought new perspectives on how homelssness can be combated. They also met with representatives of THRIVE San Antonio, who provided insight on how the organization partners with Haven for Hope to help homeless LGBTQ youth.
After lunch, the visitors visited the Boys and Girls Club. There, they were able to tour the building and learn about the work of the organization. Specifically, the visitors were fascinated with their multi-generational program model.
On Thursday, the visitors first stop was with Roy Maas Youth Alternatives (RMYA), where the visitors we able to tour the facility, learn about their mission, and were even able to meet some of the residents at the center. The visit was very emotional for the delegation as they we able to hear the stories of the youth and how they were able to have a better life because of the center. The visitors took these success stories to heart as it showcased the importance of the program.
After lunch the visitors visited with members of peaceCENTER. They spoke with volunteers and heard about the organizations various activities. They also learned that the program isn’t just to help troubled youth, but to serve all youth by preventing them from entering into negative situations.
On the last day of the trip, the visitors first went to the University of the Incarnate Word to meet with two representatives from City Year San Antonio. They were able to learn about how this program’s approach to helping youth is different and that the organization is unlike what they had seen previously, as their work is primarily based in schools. They were also fascinated with the volunteerism aspect of the organization, which encourages community outreach and service.
Next, the delegation visited Big Brothers Big Sisters. At this organization, the visitors were able to learn about how adults and kids can learn from each other and aid each other as mentors. They were able to meet with alumni of the program and witness the result of going through the program. They toured the facility and met everyone who worked at the organization to learn about each of their vital roles.
After lunch, the visitors went to UTSA to visit the Dreamers Center. They were able to learn about how the University is helping DACA and undocumented students get a higher education.
Lastly, the visitors went to the Cortez Family Center to meet with representatives of AVANCE. They had the opportunity to learn about how they help parents get degrees in higher education, as well as other services they provide, such as parenting classes. During the meeting, the visitors were able to speak to representatives from the national office and learn about the efficacy of the program within our community.
The San Antonio Council for International Visitors was honored to host this amazing group of international visitors from Mexico to shed light on services provided combat the disenfranchisement of at-risk youth. We hope that this experience not only exposed what the San Antonio community can do to help this youth, but also helped these visitors learn about how they can assist the youth in their communities. This was truly a great experience for everyone involved because through collective learning and sharing new solutions and new perspectives, much discovery was gained by our visitors and the local community they met with.