We are grateful for the generosity of our monthly donors who make our work possible. Meet Rachel Vaughn. She was a former youth mentor volunteer and has been a loyal monthly donor since 2016. We asked Rachel why she decided to become a monthly donor. She wrote:
“I first reached out to Exodus in November 2016, when it became clear that there were those who wanted to make refugees and immigrants feel unwelcome in the USA. As someone who’s been lucky enough to work, travel and learn from individuals in other countries, who always made me feel welcome, I felt that I had to align my money and my actions where my values are.
I became a monthly donor at around the same time I participated in the Youth Mentor program. Some of my fondest memories are from the connections built there, but I knew that it was equally important to give financially – and giving monthly has made it easy to continue my support no matter what.
In that first moment of outrage and outreach that sparked me to get involved, I felt like the America that I believed in was at risk. The principles of openness, of diversity, of a better life seemed like they were suddenly called into question in a way that they hadn’t been in years. Since then it has felt like each news cycle brings fresh horrors to light.
It is so easy now to feel despair, to feel like the problems of the world are too heavy to bear while America is bleeding with open wounds. While our country is falling apart, what do we have left to offer anyone else in the world? Why would anyone come here where our healthcare is broken, where safety is only for a few, where economic mobility is more limited than ever, where housing is unafforable?
And yet, I know that there are thousands if not millions of people around the world for whom the dream is still alive. For whom coming to America represents an opportunity, a chance to start over, a time of hope.
I have been fortunate to stay in touch with my former Exodus mentee, Vanessa, and her family because they happened to move in across the street from me. She rides her bike down the street every Friday afternoon. They have a garden, and borrow tools from my fiancee. We bring them duck eggs when we have extra. Alex, her older brother, pet sits for us and is heading to Wabash in the fall. Every Sunday they wash & polish their SUV till it gleams.
When we wave across the street (from a safe social distance) on summer evenings, I’m hopeful that even if this American dream wasn’t quite what they were expecting, it’s still a dream worth cherishing as fragile as it may be.”