Educating people to the realities of the border and the various forces that bring people to the border is also part of the house’s work. To this end we have developed the Border Awareness Experience (BAE), an immersion experience through which we provide hospitality to groups from colleges, universities, seminaries, and churches in the United States and facilitate face-to-face meetings and encounters between them and organizations, groups, and individuals on both sides of the border. Volunteers are involved in coordinating these trips, translating, and accompanying groups during their time with us.
Advocacy for our guests and for the immigrants whom we will never meet is also part of the work that we do. Volunteers often find themselves accompanying guests to meetings with social service agencies or doctors, for example, to provide support, encouragement, and translation. Also, once a year we host a Voice of the Voiceless event to recognize others who are working for justice for immigrants. The months-long outreach to the border community to involve them in this event and to galvanize them around the issue of justice for immigrants is a profound example of the advocacy work that Annunciation House does.
Administrative and clerical work goes on in our office that is located at Casa Teresa, two blocks from Annunciation House. In the office volunteers do research, writing, computer work, bookkeeping, and other tasks that help fulfill the administrative needs of the house. Annunciation House also puts out a newsletter. Volunteers are always encouraged to get involved with the research, writing, formatting, and distribution of this newsletter.
With all of the work that volunteers do, it is important to have time off to rest and renew. For this purpose, once a week volunteers have a day and a night off. An apartment on the second floor of Casa Teresa is available for volunteers’ use on their day off. There is a men’s and women’s dorm at Casa Teresa, as well as a living room, dining room, and kitchen. Volunteers have access to Internet and a television in this space as well. On the bottom floor of Casa Teresa behind the administrative offices is another apartment. This apartment serves as the living space of long-term volunteers.