Hello from Arizona,

Today was an eventful day. We woke up very early and headed out for a morning coffee run at our new favorite stop, Dutch Bros. Then, we headed off to the Pio Decimo Center, where we learned about their mission and values. This beautiful facility has so many amazing programs that they offer for those in need from shoes and clothes to food and housing. Additionally, they have educational programs for students, providing them with great educational opportunities. After being greeted by warm smiles and meeting some of their staff, we got straight to work. We started by scrapping the paint off the playground exterior wall, so we would have it prepared for priming. This is a crucial step so that tomorrow when we paint the walls, the paint adheres well.

We then took a break and went to lunch where we met with Raul, a retired Border Patrol agent whom we had a very insightful conversation with about the current situation with the lack of Border Patrol agents and the challenges they face today. He shared with us details about the different types of officers and the locations that they patrol.

We went back to the Pio Decimo Center and got back to work. We got separated into two groups, one helped with tax returns and translation, while the other one started priming the wall with white paint. We got to greet so many different people, and help translate taxes, where you truly see the grace of the people, as the line was so long, yet, they were all so grateful for the service. As for the painting group, we began to apply a thick coat of primer onto the wall of the playground fence. We strategically painted the trim and roller-painted the remainder of the wall with the primer. This was a highlight of our day as we were able to share many laughs and bond with one another.

We then adventured off to dinner at a delicious Mexican restaurant, where we met with Mary, Daniel, Cormick, and Kira. Mary is a member of the Catholic Community Services Board. The others were some students from a Jesuit mission, whom we had the chance to learn about their story and share ours. They shared how the ended up in Tuscon and what kind of service work they do here. Kira actually works at the Pio Decimo Center and we will be working with her tomorrow!

We ended the night with a reflection on the process of getting citizenship, and even took the United States Citizenship Test, to see how we would do (spoiler alert, not that good). But, it was a good time for reflection a fun group activity. Additionally, we learned about the different ways to obtain a green card from occupational, marital, investment, etc.

Today was a busy day, from 8:30 am-9:30 pm non-stop, yet we got to learn a lot and expand our world perspective.

See you guys tomorrow,

Friends of Tucson

By: Courtney King and Cata Ordonez