Fernando’s First Time in a Classroom

First Time Classroom Experience

Fernando, 16, arrived at Casa Amanecer a bit unsure of what was to come, and hoping he and his 13 year-old-brother had ended up somewhere safe. Both boys had worked as fishermen in their home country of Honduras and had come to the United States in search of their father.

Meet the Casa Padre Emotional Support Dog Team

Nala Casa Padre Emotional Support Dog

At Casa Padre not all of the staff walk on two legs. Eight dogs make up the on-site Emotional Support Team. This program began with an idea from Jeissa Melendez. In addition to her work as a clinician at Southwest Key Programs, Jeissa also specializes in the human-animal bond and volunteers with her therapy dog, Nala. As she worked with youth throughout their reunification process, she saw an opportunity to combine her volunteer work with therapy dogs with her career as a clinician. With approval from Southwest Key leadership and Texas State Licensing, she brought her dog Nala, a Certified Therapy dog, to Casa Padre to begin providing support.

Hearing For the First Time

Mateo success story

Mateo was a 17-year-old boy from Honduras who was born deaf and whose mother was unable to afford medical care or provide schooling for him to learn sign language. When Mateo was seven, his mother moved to the United States to find work, leaving him in the care of his aunt and uncle. When he came to the U.S. ten years later, Mateo was placed at a Southwest Key shelter where staff recognized during the intake process that he couldn’t hear or sign.

Camaraderie and Creativity Through Cooking

Cooking Class

Nothing brings people together like food and friendship. Southwest Key Programs partnered with Free Arts, a hands-on art programming provider in Phoenix, Arizona, to use the healing powers of the arts to inspire and comfort children in our care.

The Role Art Therapy Plays in Shelters

Immigrant Youth's Artwork

Through many different outlets – music, painting, drawing, acting, dancing and more – children in our care can express themselves, communicate traumatic memories in a safe manner and continue their healing process.

Acts of Kindness Impact Youth

Isabella success story

Isabella is a young female minor that came to Southwest Key’s Casa Franklin. When she arrived she was almost emotionless and looked defeated and disappointed, which is understandable because these children often come from unfortunate situations and have difficult travels.

Support for Developmental Disability

Ana success story

Ana is a 15-year-old girl from El Salvador who was placed at Casa Campbell in Phoenix with her siblings. At intake Ana was unable to have a coherent conversation with others. She was unable to write her name or identify letters or numbers. This is because Ana has a developmental disability.

Rescued From Trafficking

Maya success story

Maya was a shy girl of nearly 18 when she arrived at a Southwest Key shelter in the summer of 2018. Quietly relaying her story to her case manager, she told of the two-year-old daughter back home in Honduras she had to leave behind to seek work in the U.S.