In recent weeks, Mary’s Center has heard from so many of you expressing concern for the communities we serve and wanting to help our participants as they face uncertainty during these trying times due to recent executive orders. First, we would like to thank you for your compassion, tolerance, and love. Your engagement and devotion helps keep our neighborhoods and region an accepting and thriving home for all.
For those seeking to help, we would like to suggest ways to take action that will directly have a positive impact on our vulnerable families who are concerned for their safety and future, and are feeling hopeless.
1. Educate Your Community on Their Rights
Please share this message from the National Immigration Law Center via your neighborhood listserv, social media, or forums shared by your school and place of worship. It helps people understand their rights in the event of an encounter with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other law enforcement officers. In a diverse region like ours, it’s likely that you live in a neighborhood where immigrants reside or work. By sharing this important information, you will help keep the public informed.
2. Encourage Community Members To Continue Their Daily Life
Many people are afraid to carry on with their daily activities because of raids. Using the platforms mentioned above, encourage community members to continue their daily life, send their children to school and continue to take care of their medical needs. Last week Mary’s Center posted the following message, which will be important to disseminate in English and Spanish:
Mary’s Center reiterates our commitment to continue to serve everyone who needs our services. Our doors will always be open for you. Do not neglect your health (medical, dental, and behavioral)! Regardless of any revisions to the Affordable Care Art and/or immigration ban, Mary’s Center encourages everyone to continue seeking the health services critical to your family’s well-being. We plea with every parent to continue to send your children to school as it is a protected right for every child.
Mary’s Center reitera su compromiso de continuar sirviendo a cada persona que necesite nuestros servicios. Nuestras puertas siempre estaránabiertas para usted. No descuide su salud (médica, dental y mental)! Sin importar las modificaciones que se hagan a la reforma de salud o el veto migratorio, Mary’s Center le pide que continúe buscando servicios de salud que son tan importantes para el bienestar familiar. Le pedimostambién a cada padre que envíe sus niños a la escuela ya que es un derecho de protección de cada niño.
3. Provide Pro Bono Legal Services
Earlier this week, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly released two memoranda to officially implement the President’s executive orders regarding immigration enforcement. Accordingly, we are keeping a watchful eye on the need for legal help for some of our participants. Mary’s Center does not provide legal services; however we partner with organizations and attorneys who are willing to do pro bono work. If you are in a position to provide such help on a pro bono basis, please contact our Development Department at (202) 420-7001.
4. Know How to Spot Signs of “Toxic Stress” and Its Effects on Our Children
Unfortunately the changing political climate is putting an unprecedented burden on the vulnerable children Mary’s Center serves who already struggle with a myriad of challenges, including eating disorders, attention deficit disorder, depression and constant fear of being homeless. This added layer of “toxic stress” (a term explored in an article published by The Atlantic) forces our staff to redirect their intervention to address the additional fears that often times paralyzes an entire family.
One of our recent blog posts discussed what our School Based Mental Health therapists are hearing from children and teens. Here are tips on how to spot the symptoms and ways to help youth experiencing stress. Please encourage parents of affected youth to seek support from Mary’s Center’s. Our behavioral health team stands by to provide counseling: 202-420-7122.
5. Support Our Community with a Contribution
At Mary’s Center, your support will be transformed directly to assist our neighbors in need. Every dollar donated to Mary’s Center is stretched to have maximum impact. Click here to make a donation. No matter how much you give, your donation will make a difference to many:
$75 can support healthy activities at our senior centers
$150 can pay a medical visit for one working uninsured person
$300 can cover a family planning program for up to a year (visits + prescriptions)
$500 can help our teens get ready for college (SAT prep, college visits, application fees)
$1,250 can cover home visits for one year for mothers and children up to 2 years old
6. Volunteer Your Time
Volunteer needs include tutoring/mentoring a teen in our After School Program; assisting with coordination of our special events; lending a helping hand at our quarterly baby showers, and many more.
You are invited to join the Mary’s Center volunteer corps. Please fill out our volunteer form today and we will match your interests with a project.
7. Host a Clothing or Book Drive In Your Community
Clothing:The families we serve at Mary’s Center often do not have basic items such as clothes, baby toys, household items, and much more. Donations can be dropped off at 2355 Ontario Road NW, Washington DC. Drop-off hours are from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. If you are planning a large drop-off, or have questions about whether we accept your items, please call us at (202) 420-7049 or (202) 420-7001.
Books:To build early literacy, Mary’s Center pediatricians give free books to children under the age of 5 during their well-child visits. Our doctors are always in need of good books! Organize a community book drive for the children receiving care at Mary’s Center. We are seeking new board books, appropriate for children from infant to age 5.
For more information about supporting our community during these difficult times, please contact our Development Department at 202-420-7001.