News for Amigos de Casa San Jose: February, 2022

An Immigrant’s Journey to a New Start
Fernando’s immigration journey started when he crossed the Texas border last year, along with five family members, after fleeing dangerous gangs in his home country of Colombia. After making their way to Pittsburgh, the family was referred to Casa San Jose for help with housing and other basic needs.
Fernando and his relatives became the first occupants of Casa San Jose’s asylum house in Swissvale, a temporary residence for newly arrived immigrants. Residents can live there for up to six months, rent-free until more permanent housing is secured.
After working at a local restaurant for a few months, Fernando heard of a job opportunity in Chicago from a friend and was offered a position at Goya Foods. Although no longer in Pittsburgh, Fernando is grateful for the support and opportunities he received from Casa San Jose and Emergency Housing Case Manager, AnDria Verde.
In a text message he wrote, “AnDria, thank you for everything. God bless you and fill your life with health. Thank you for everything you have done for us. Blessings.”
We’d like to express our gratitude to those who made monetary contributions and donated gift cards and household items for the house. For more information on how you can support immigrant families with housing, contact andriaverde@casasanjose.org.
A Valentine Thank You
Last month’s response to our request for valentines to send to immigrant detainees was extraordinary! We received 1,300 cards in Spanish and English as well as in Portuguese, Turkish, Romanian, and Hindi for the more than 550 immigrants being held at the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center. We can’t thank you enough for making dark winter days a little brighter for those being detained and showing your love and support.A special thanks to the following organizations and individuals who helped in this effort:  Bishop Canevin High School; Community for Pittsburgh Ultimate; Sex Worker Outreach Project, Pittsburgh; South Hills Interfaith Ministries (SHIM); Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse; Notre Dame Club of Pittsburgh; East End Runners; Sisters of St. Francis; Bellevu; East Liberty Presbyterian Church; Dor Hadash; University of Pittsburgh Latino Medical Association; Immigration Attorney Samantha Tamburro; and Reverend Linda Theophilus.
Youth Mental Health Webinars
Graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences are collaborating with Casa San Jose to provide interactive mental health webinars for Latino youth, ages 14-18 years old. The virtual and in-person sessions address depression and suicide prevention, the effects of bullying, and coping with stress.“We consider this a great opportunity for our young community members to learn, identify and request help in case they need it,” says Jenny Diaz, Casa San Jose’s Regional Director of Management and Social Services.Our thanks to Pitt graduate students Jacklyn, Brendan, Bridget, and Kassondra, for coordinating this program.
Autism Workshops
Casa San Jose recently began an eight-week workshop for Spanish-speaking parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The introductory class focused on the diagnostic criteria of autism and specific evaluation procedures. Subsequent sessions will include navigating the school system for students with ASD, coordinating care, and identifying parental stresses involved in raising a child on the spectrum. Ten parents are currently participating in this pilot program.
Casita Mentoring Program
Casa San Jose’s youth mentoring program, Casita, provides enrichment activities and support for Latino youth in area schools. Casa’s Youth Services Specialists, Teresa Parra and Jose Ochoa, regularly meet with students during school lunchtimes and free periods to build community and help Latino students connect to programs and services in a safe space. The program currently serves more than 50 students from Brashear, Concord, and Moon Middle and High Schools, with plans to expand to other schools. If you are a teacher or school administrator and would like more information, contact Teresa at teresap@casasanjose.org or Jose at jose@casasanjose.org.
Advocating for Public Transit Equity and Accessibility
A Casa San Jose community member, Delmis, was a featured speaker at the Transit Equity Day virtual event sponsored by Pittsburghers for Public Transit on February 4, 2022. An immigrant mother with two young children, Delmis, talked about the necessity for affordable and accessible public transportation for work, medical appointments, and grocery shopping, among other needs.“For the majority of people who come to this country and don’t speak English, public transit is our first option,” said Delmis in her testimony.”Not having information in English and in Spanish on public transit is a form of racism, because not only English speakers live in this city.”Bilingual volunteers who care about public transit equity and accessibility can contact laura@casasanjose.org for ways to support this effort. 
Seeking a Life-Saving Match
Stem cell donors are especially needed to help kids like Jackson who are facing life-threatening illnesses. To read more about Jax’s story and support the cause, click here
Source: Physicians for Human Rights
COVID Vaccines for Immigrant Detainees
Making vaccines available to detainees is essential but it must be coupled with effective education and counseling to overcome skepticism and confusion among immigrants regarding COVID. There is increased pressure on the state to intervene. Physicians for Human Rights is calling for immediate action to protect ICE detainees. For more information, click here.
  • Fiesta del Sol will be held on June 17 in person at the Circuit Center Ballroom on the South Side.  If you would like to join our energetic and creative committee, please contact Sister Karen at srkaren@casasanjose.org so that we can set up a Zoom meeting for the committee soon. 
  • If you need a letter for the IRS with your 2021 contributions to Casa San Jose, please call or email Sister Karen (412-974-2758 or srkaren@casasanjose.org). Tax letters will be issued upon request.
  • With 180K people now surveilled on ICE’s electronic monitoring program, Casa San Jose was proud to join 176 organizations and 25 members of Congress in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security to reject “e-carceration” as an alternative to detention. Read more here.
  • East Liberty Family Health Care Center has job opportunities available, click here to learn more.   
  • Viviendo Sobrio: AA meetings for Spanish-speaking participants are being held at Casa San Jose, Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. For more information, contact Casa San Jose at (412) 343-3111.

Leave a Reply