In 2018, I had the opportunity to go down to Dilley, TX to volunteer at a detention center where Hispanic immigrant children and their moms were being detained. After a long journey escaping atrocious situations in their countries, they were here seeking asylum. The U.S. government did not welcome them with open arms though. Instead, they separated the children from their mothers and put them in different “cages”. It did not matter if the child was scared, sick, or in tears.

I spent a week there, helping mothers and their children prepare for their first asylum interviews. At the end of my heart-wrenching but highly rewarding volunteering, I went to the bus station where the families were dropped off once their case had been approved. I gave out bracelets to the little girls, spelling out words like LOVE, GRATITUDE and FAITH. It was the first token of hope and joy they received after a hard, dangerous journey. Their faces lit up with happiness, they climbed all over me, hugged me and loved me. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever lived.

This opened my eyes and my heart in a way that I had never experienced before. That week, I truly understood the importance and value of giving back. With the desire to continuously give back to Mother Earth + its beings, I have integrated that value into my work. Whatever it looks like: giving bracelets to the immigrant children in the US-Mexico border, offering a baking class at an orphanage, or donating money to the endangered animals through Tiklari, I am committed to giving back to the world. It is my way of expressing my gratitude to Mother Earth for all that she gives us.

Deep gratitude to all those who have helped me help others,