Director’s Message for Winter 2023

Photo of ProBAR Director Laura Pena.

As we bring 2023 to a close, I am reminded of all the incredible strides we have made as a team. This year, we developed a chant: ProBAR Presente, Adelante y Siempre! Below are some ways in which we lived into our call to service in 2023.

ProBAR Presente!  This year, we increased our presence and contributions to our local community, including presentations at local high schools, distribution of school supplies at a community event, and helping prepare food for recently arrived migrants in partnership with Team Brownsville, among other engagements.  Our legal and social services in the community also deepened, with an expanded team regularly providing legal assistance at the Harlingen Immigration Court, in person orientation with custodians of locally reunified children, along with several rapid response efforts to address emergent needs playing out in the Rio Grande Valley. In this newsletter, you will see one powerful testimonial from a client who experienced our increased commitment to serving people facing emergent circumstances upon arrival in our community.  

ProBAR Adelante! Our passion to serve our clients drives us to constantly move forward and innovate to better serve immigrant children, adults and families arriving to our country. This year, we used creative techniques to adjust our trauma-informed services to serve an increasing population in custody: non-verbal children who are still too young to speak. The intersection between legal rights and wellness of a baby could not be more critical, and I am proud to lead a team that exercises the utmost thought and care to provide legal advocacy to this vulnerable group. Also in 2023, we were excited to open our first-ever field office in Houston, Texas! Houston is one of the top destinations for reunified unaccompanied children. In this new model, with a small dynamic team in Houston, we seek to leverage our Harlingen-based staff to provide continuity of services for the youth we serve in the RGV who reunify in the Houston region. 

ProBAR Siempre! Despite the challenges of the immigration system, each day we are humble and grateful for the opportunity to accompany and empower people along their journey. Our current ProBAR team, along with thousands of former ProBAR staff, interns, and volunteers hold our mission close to our heart. It is with this spirit of gratitude and recognition of the powerful human spirit that we collectively believe in ProBAR, por siempre 

As summarized by team member Kristian, we are proud of a ProBAR that is ¡Presente, siguendo Adelante juntos, y por Siempre! 

I simply cannot wait for 2024! 


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