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How To Help Migrant Children Being Housed In Westchester

Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry.
Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry. Photo Credit: Google Maps

More than $10,000 was raised in less than two days to benefit a Westchester facility that is housing several children who were separated from their families from their parents at the Mexican border.

Even as they attempt to reunite displaced migrant children with their families, Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, which “works in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities” has raised $11,116 through a GoFundMe fundraising campaign, easily topping their $8,000 goal in under 48 hours.

Although President Donald Trump reversed course, signing an executive order to end the policy last month amid a national backlash, Jeremy Kohomban, who runs Children’s Village, has sought to set the record straight in regards to his organization.

“As you may be aware, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that Children’s Village is housing immigrant children who have been separated from their parents,” he wrote in an email to Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. “A small number of older children have been placed with us as part of the Unidos por un Sueno (United for a Dream) program that Children’s Village has been proud to provide since 2004.

“These children are being cared for in the same manner as we care for all of the children in the program. The focus of the US program is to reunify children with their families, not to separate them. We pride ourselves on that, and it will continue to be our primary objective for all children who enter the program.”

Kohomban said that they’ve been caring for unaccompanied minors since 2004, with children separated from families considered “unaccompanied,” though they are a small percentage of the children on campus. Each is between 12 and 17 years old and he specified that it is “not a tender care facility.” He noted that “our first job is to find their families and get the kids on the phone with them.”“

Children live in beautiful cottages with comfortable living rooms, dining rooms, beds (and other amenities,)” he added. “Children receive education, recreation medical care and counseling. They spend time in the Lanza Recreation Center, which has an indoor pool, a fitness facility, barber shop, Hawks Nest Cafe and gym.”

Officials said that the donations allowed them to “provide more than expected to the children, as well as adding some Spanish-language books to the library, which will provide a long-term resource to the unaccompanied children community that continually passes through Children’s Village.”

Although the fundraising campaign has been closed, those hoping to help the children and their families can still provide “Children’s Village Welcome Packs” through July 13.

“We are overwhelmed with the quick and generous response,” officials posted online. “The team at Children’s Village is beginning to discuss what further can be done for the children beyond the welcome packs.”

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