Focus: BorderLinks facilitates educational immersion trips to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. These educational trips offer a chance to explore and experience life in the borderlands of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora. Beyond-the-Border Immersion Trips include Chiapas, Mata Ortiz, the Copper Canyon, and other U.S. border communities.
Size of Group: They welcome groups of all sizes, and have arranged delegations for groups of up to twenty-five people.
Cost: Border Trips cost $750 for five days. Includes lodging, meals, and all transportation during delegation.
Mata Ortiz Pottery through Agua Prieta and Colonia Juarez costs $725 includes lodging, meals, transportation, and
all travel during the trip. Minimum: ten persons.
Chiapas Travel Seminar costs $1,600 plus airfare to Mexico City and includes room and board, travel in Chiapas, and
program-related activities. Five to seven days.
Copper Canyon Delegation costs $1,300 and includes lodging and two meals a day, train ride, and program-related
activities. Twenty-plus persons. Five to seven days.
Length of Trip: One to seven days
Age: All ages are welcome. Youth under 18 require a letter of permission from parent or guardian.
Accessibility: Limited accessibility in Mexican communities. They are willing to work with delegation organizers to develop alternatives.
Background: Developed in 2000 to provide religious groups and college students the opportunity to experience the border reality. BorderLinks offers year-long internships to college or seminary students who provide theological reflection to interested delegations. Also, has a Summer Engagement Program for college students.
Other Information: Educational Model: "Our educational programs are organized around the idea of See, Judge, Act based on Paolo Freire educational methodology. We seek to create dialogue as a way of solving problems, regardless of educational level, economic status, race, gender, or class. We value the human experience as a teaching tool."
Focus: Specifically-designed one-day immersion tours that highlight community and economic development projects in Arizona and Sonora. They want participants to see Nogales as an exciting, emerging, urban area. Customized tours available upon request with housing in Nogales, Sonora.
Size of Group: 12 people is ideal
Cost: $80 per person
Length of Trip: One day (usually third Thursday of each month, except July or August)
Age: Open – will take youth under age 18 if accompanied by a parent.
Accessibility: Limited due to stairs in Mexico. Note: This tour visits a wheelchair factory, which makes wheelchairs suitable for use in Mexico.
Background: BCA works in partnership with its Mexican partner, Fundación Del Empresariado Sonorense A.C. (FESAC), a Sonoran Economic Development Foundation that supports social entrepreneurship projects.
Other Information: The mission of the BCA is to support the educational, political, social, cultural, and economic development needs of the Arizona/Sonora border region to improve the quality of life for border communities.
Volunteer Opportunities: Six-week Summer Internship program for university students. Stipend and housing provided.
Focus: Educational delegations focused on the reality of life in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico; the difficulties of the migrant journey into the U.S.; and the work of grassroots organizations to provide humanitarian aid and work for social justice. They work closely together with their sister organization, the Home of Hope and Peace (HEPAC) – a community center located in an impoverished neighborhood just three miles south of the border wall that separates Nogales, Sonora from Nogales, Arizona.
Size of Group: They welcome groups of all sizes, and have arranged delegations for groups of three to twenty-five people. The ideal group size is between five and ten people – which makes it easier to listen well to the testimonios (lived experiences) of people that have been affected by U.S. economic and immigration policies, and to facilitate sharing within the group.
Cost: A contribution of $70 per person per day, which includes lodging, three meals, and program activities. The group is responsible for arranging its own transportation. Friends of HEPAC can provide suggestions about vehicle rentals.
Length of Trip: One to seven days
Age: All ages are welcome.
Accessibility: Unfortunately, the facilities that Friends of HEPAC visit in Nogales, Sonora are not accessible for people with certain physical disabilities.
Background: Their sister organization, the House of Hope and Peace (HEPAC) community center in Nogales, Sonora provides lunch for schoolchildren; enables adults to complete their elementary, middle, and high school education; offers Culture of Peace workshops to provide people with tools for healing from trauma and violence, and for transforming conflict; organizes Kids Camps during school vacation that focus on the Culture of Peace and teach the children about their rights and ways to defend their rights; and operates a women’s artisan cooperative. The vision of HEPAC is to create a healthy and sustainable community in Nogales, Sonora so that people don’t feel forced to risk arrest and death in the desert of southern Arizona in a desperate attempt to migrate to the U.S. in order to provide for their families.
Special Project: A Mission group from Casas Adobes UCC in Tucson, AZ works with the women’s artisan cooperative. They work in partnership with the HEPAC women’s group and recently have committed to raise funds to reopen the day care center and to support a community garden project. If interested in their project, email them at email@example.com.
Location: Sahuarita, Arizona
Contact: Rev. Dr. Randy Mayer
Phone: 520-625-1375 (office), 520-401-5048 (cell)
Focus: This congregation is very involved in various immigration and border projects, Green Valley Samaritans, free Legal Clinic, and customized border immersion experiences for UCC congregations, as well as university, seminary, and other groups. The border trips include desert walks, water runs, Operation Streamline in Tucson, as well as visiting shelters in Nogales, El Comedor (a migrant aid station), and HEPAC. Randy Mayer and other Samaritans work with interested delegations to plan a trip that meets each group's interests.
Size of Group: They welcome groups of all sizes, and have arranged delegations for groups of up to twenty-five people and have had individuals, journalists, and pastors/teachers onsabbaticals come for customized times and experiences.
Cost: Contributions of $10 per day per person are requested to cover expenses for housing groups. Lodging is sleeping in various classrooms – the church has a number of sleeping pads, and mattresses. The church has showers and bathrooms and a kitchen for food preparation. The church has four vehicles for its border ministries, but groups must organize their own transportation for trips on the Arizona side of the border.
Length of Trip: Weekends to five days
Age: All ages are welcome. Youth under 18 years of age require a letter of permission from parent or guardian in order to cross the Mexican border.
Accessibility: Church building is accessible. There is limited accessibility in Mexican communities. They are willing to work with delegation organizers to develop alternatives.
Background: The UCC congregation with its pastor the Rev. Randy Mayer helped found Humane Borders, the first humanitarian aid organization that established water stations in the desert for migrants. They have been at the heart of the U. S. Border and Immigration issues since 2000 and work with all of the border humanitarian groups as well as having a presence in advocacy work in Washington DC. They sponsor an annual Border Issues Fair in mid-January and a Common Ground on the Border event in mid-March.
Other Information: See also www.gvsamaritans.org.