Experience Making a Difference

Experience Making a Difference

Ignatian Volunteer Reflects on Kino Border Initiative, Nogales, AZ/Sonora

by | May 9, 2017

by Lucy Howell, Ignatian Volunteer, San Diego


The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) is an eight year old bi-national mission to deportees at the Arizona/Mexico border offering humanitarian assistance (46,000 meals and shelter for nearly 400 women and children last year), pastoral care, advocacy and education (groups from all over the U.S. come to serve and experience firsthand the complexities of immigration).  The KBI was founded in 2009 by Jesuits from the California  Province.  Partners include the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Eucharist, the Dioceses of Tucson and Nogales, Jesuit Relief Service/USA and the California Province of the Society of Jesus.

A group of us from St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix first learned about the Kino Border Initiative from Father Sean Carroll, S.J., KBI’s Executive Director, while  attending the U.S.C.C.B.’s Annual Catholic Ministry Gathering in Washington, D.C.  We  immediately understood this would be a challenging effort at the border and determined the best way we could assist would be to raise funds for the operation. (Phoenix is a high speed 2 hours and 40 minutes from Nogales).

This support effort has grown from a barbecue for 69 in 2011 to a record crowd of 370 at Brophy College Preparatory (Jesuit high school in Phoenix) on March 25 raising $150,000 for KBI’s operating budget.   We have learned event planning and management along the way and have been blessed with the partnership with Brophy (student groups make monthly trips to the KBI soup kitchen to serve and experience the reality of immigration and deportation).

This year’s program was opened with a demonstration of “brain exercises” by Sister Alicia Guevera Perez,  M.E. used in the Comdep (soup kitchen) to bring a moment of levity to migrants whose lives have been destroyed by deportation. My prayers continue to be for the grace of gratitude for my life and for all who are devoted to serving our brothers and sisters at the Kino Border Initiative.

Lucy Howell, San Diego Ignatian Volunteer, is the current chair of the 18 member bi-national KBI Board of Directors. 


A recent story from the Jesuit Conference about the Kino Border Initiative: http://www.jesuits.org/story?TN=PROJECT-20170327115833

This link of the short video created by Brophy faculty member, Pete Burr about KBI:  https://vimeo.com/206180020

 This link is a Cronkite News  (PBS Phoenix) of an interview of Lucy Howell and Brophy student, Matthew Chavira:


Additional information about the Kino Border Initiative may be found on its website: http//: www.kinoborderinitiative.org.