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Volunteers help children seeking asylum at San Diego Convention Center

More volunteers and donations needed
Posted at 3:37 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 15:37:06-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Hundreds of children arrived in San Diego Friday seeking asylum. They will be transported to the convention center where more than a thousand others are being supported with wraparound services.

The large operation requires lots of helping hands.

Volunteer Lolita Pellos answered when the first call for help went out in March.

"I was compelled to help them any way that I could, and because of the pandemic business has been on and off so I decided I would help," she said. Pellos is a hairstylist.

RELATED: More migrant children arrive in San Diego, to stay at convention center

When she came to the convention center, she said her first role was guiding teens through the halls to doctors appointments, "now my role has turned into more of a camp counselor. So we want to do fun things with them, to let them be kids again."

She is thrilled to start teaching Spanish Yoga Class on April 18, hopes to host an art class and wants to give the kids Spanish/English flashcards and maps.

She said they want to learn English and "they want to learn about where they are and where they're going and so that to me shows a lot about their character."

A character holding strong after facing unknown trauma to get here.

"Well you know it's heartbreaking to see the kids on television being left alone in the desert," Pellos said while wiping tears from her face.

She is a first-generation American after her father moved to the U.S. from the Philippines and enlisted in the Navy.

She said he was chasing the American dream too.

"I would like San Diegans to know these are kids, just like your kids, just like the kids running around at the beach on Spring Break. They want to have fun, they want to make friends, they want to go to school... They want to have opportunities to live in a safe place and work hard and achieve the American dream. The places they come from have been wrought with crime and gangs and they're just looking for a safe harbor and I think it's time for us to step up and take care of these kids, they need us," Pellos said.

She said Promises2Kids sent out an alert looking for volunteers. "They're looking for 100 people a day to volunteer," she said. Click here to start the application process if you would like to volunteer.