Modesto, a 16-year-old young boy from Guatemala, entered the Unaccompanied Minors Program (UMP) through the short-term foster care program in 2006.
Steven was just a teenager when he made the long trip from Honduras to the United States. Both of his parents had passed away and he worried what would come of him.
Though young, Steven had dreams of becoming a chef. He knew his only hope was to leave Honduras, a place known for poverty and having the highest murder rate in the world.
Graduation is an exciting time. It elicits mixed feelings of joy, anxiety and a little fear of the unknown. While these feelings are normal for any graduates, we are especially proud of these graduates from our unaccompanied minor program (UMP). Catholic Charities unaccompanied minor program places refugee children into foster homes and helps them acclimate to life in America. These students live in foster homes or an in independent living environment. All of these students have overcome incredible challenges and have a bright future. As these remarkable students graduate from high school, they reflect back on their time in school and the role of Catholic Charities.
Joan was born in 1998 in Myanmar. Her older cousin took her and her brother and fled to Malaysia in 2009. They waited for two years to be granted refugee status.
He experienced uncertainty and abandonment at age 9 as he entered the Catholic Charities unaccompanied minor program (UMP). With his huge brown eyes, he took in the world around him. Anthony's history makes him slow to trust. He likes to be mostly silent and aloof. Then one day, there is a breakthrough when the classroom is visited by a four-legged volunteer with floppy ears and a presence that offers companionship without expectations. Anthony blossoms!
At the intersection of Camelback Road and the I-17, an 8-year-old Guatemalan child in foster care noticed a homeless gentleman with a sign saying, Hungry. The man looked sun-burned from over-exposure. The little boy asked me what we could do for him.
In 2011, Antoinette came to the Arizona as an unaccompanied minor. Here, she shares her story about life as a refugee and the struggles she has faced adapting to her new life in America.
Joseph, now 17 years old, grew up with his family in Afghanistan. All of that changed when he was forced to flee for his safety and became a refugee.
Originally from Burma, Sara arrived to the United States in 2011 at age 17 after a prolonged stay in a Malaysian refugee camp. Sara and her cousins left for Malaysia in search of education and a safe place as the military dictatorship in Burma closed their school.
What are your earliest memories of Christmas? Is it Santa, a room full of presents or family gatherings? Children in Catholic Charities unaccompanied minor program (UMP) recently got their first taste of Christmas.
These children entered the country without a parent, some as refugees from war-torn countries. They are placed with a foster care family as they learn a new language and customs, while going to school.