SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Undocumented students are struggling through the pandemic and a San Diego non-profit is pivoting with them to manage the pressure.
"In San Diego 1 out of 7 school-aged children have at least one undocumented parent at risk for deportation [or] detainment," Program Director of non-profit Students Without Limits Kevin Scully said.
Scully said the pandemic led to skyrocketing anxiety in undocumented students.
He told stories of parents who lost jobs, "they worry a lot about putting food on the table and the essentials, and it trickles down to the kids and they feel that fear, that anxiety."
These fears realized for thousands in California, according to the California Department of Education:
Scully said the non-profit is serving more than 200 students this school year and went virtual to continue providing support. The non-profit has been providing workshops and virtual sessions since the spring of 2020.
"We’re able to provide that [support] through the legal, mental health services, and continuing education support," he said. "We gave updates and information on DACA, we provided some mental health support. We had a special guest provide a calming, grounding activity.
"It was nice to have dialogue, questions from the kids with the Biden presidency now in place, there’s a lot of questions in terms of the changes that are going to take place."
Changes came Tuesday when President Joe Biden signed three executive orders. One of the orders could affect families that are getting help from Students Without Limits, by making it easier to become U.S. citizens.
Long-awaited help that couldn't come soon enough for Scully and his students.
"It’s just inspiring to see the challenges our students go through and for them to persevere," Scully said, with tears in his eyes.
He said he cares deeply for the students they serve and enjoys seeing them go to college and achieve their dreams.
The program is free for undocumented students and enrollment is open. Students can join on Instagram @swolremote.