‘There is hope’: Volunteer teacher for migrant kids in California shares experience

Migrant Centers

SAN DIEGO — An educator is volunteering at the San Diego Convention Center and sharing his stories of instructing unaccompanied migrant children who are seeking asylum in the United States.

I never thought I’d have an opportunity to be part of the solution. So, when it was announced that they were coming to the San Diego Convention Center, I was like, ‘I’m in,’” M.G. Perez said.

Perez is a longtime news reporter, theater buff and teacher who works in the San Diego Unified School District as a guest teacher with an emphasis on special education.

He draws on all elements of his background as he works with the children at the convention center — and on a growing supply of school supplies, thanks to friends checking out his Amazon wishlist and sending him items nearly every day.

“I say I’m like Mary Poppins and I have my bag of tricks because it kind of feels that way sometimes,” he said with a smile.

Perez says the classes are informal, with kids all learning at different levels.

“What they want more than anything is to learn English,” he explained. “What I’ve experienced is their resilience. There’s laughter in the convention center, there’s joking around.”

There are currently 1,032 children at the site, waiting as the federal government tries to reunify each of them with their sponsors in the U.S. — usually family members or other loved ones — by the time this site is set to close on July 15.

Perez says there’s excitement about when that day comes, and the promise of a better future: “Please know that, there is hope and that this horrible story could very well have a very hopeful ending.”

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The mission of BorderReport.com is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.