Next Step - Hiring Staff
Something new is emerging in Elkhart County, slowly but surely. In 2020, a group of local professionals led by Naun Cerrato saw the need for additional low-cost legal assistance for immigrant families in Elkhart County. By December, that group had called together representatives from other Mennonite churches, formed a board, and incorporated as a non-for-profit corporation. The new organization, La Posada Immigrant Aid, Inc., is a faith-based organization primarily supported by local Mennonites.
During 2021 and the first two months of 2022, the new board continued to develop their plans, received IRS status as a tax-exempt non-profit, and was accepted as a member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. Their business plan is for an annual budget of $100,000 per year with client fees representing 50% of the income and contributions the other 50%. Over the past 14 months, congregations have contributed $9,510, foundations $26,500, and individuals $17,735.
In addition, local organizations including Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Goshen College, and the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference have contributed office furniture and equipment so that very little needed to be spent to outfit the office.
In the photo above you see the donated equipment in the rooms that Sunnyside Mennonite Church has graciously offered for use by La Posada. The church is located at 23786 Sunnyside Ave, Elkhart, Indiana 46516.
Donations also included office supplies donated by AMBS, seen here being carried to a waiting van by Naun Cerrato, board president.
La Posada is advertising two full-time staff positions this week, an immigration attorney and a legal assistant/office manager. They hope to fill these positions in March and begin operations in April.
If you are interested in finding out more, the La Posada phone number is 574-931-4228, email: office@LaPosadaAid.com, and the website is www.LaPosadaAid.com.
by Peter Graber
Links to high resolution photos