In her own words: Meet the woman leading our immigrant mental health program

Dr. Olga Lucia Villar is Director of Formation at the Southeast Pastoral Institute. She also brings talent, academic credentials and expertise to Hispanic ministry and immigrant mental health in the Diocese of Jackson. 

Through our Trauma Intervention Program, Dr. Villar supports immigrant families coping with trauma from deportation. This is her reflection:

I have the blessing of coordinating the mental health program for immigrant families in Morton, Forest, Canton and Carthage, MS. I am part of a process where Hope is being renewed, where lives are being renewed. I get to hear the healing process of these amazing and resilient people.

Allowing Time to Heal

The process that these families are being offered is allowing for healing to happen, even during a time of pandemic. Old destructive habits that are being transformed into new life-giving behaviors. Families are learning to plan together, to pray together, to play together, to spend time together. 

As part of this program, we were able to offer two retreats during the months of February and March, right before the mandatory quarantine started. The retreats were wonderful opportunities for families to be accompanied directly through spiritually uplifting counseling and peer ministry.

Dr Villar leads a program for immigrant mental health in Mississippi

In these months of quarantine, we have created videos to continue advocating for coronavirus awareness, hygiene tips, emotional health, and spirituality. 

Children and School Challenges

On our last meeting, we came across the reality that families are having more challenges with their younger children due to lack of connection with school. School age children are at home with no way of connecting with online learningIn the majority of these houses there is no other device than the phones, so we have launched a fundraiser of used tablets, iPads or laptops that might be of help as a bridge between the children and online learning, that will also open new possibilities for online counseling, summer programs, etc. 

Families are being reconstructed and liberated from lack of communication.

I will be traveling during June to visit these communities. I am hoping to bring with me not only the donations that we are collecting but also a sense of communion and support to these communities.


You can help bring communion and support to these traumatized families by donating todayNow through August 7th, every gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar and go twice as far to bring critically needed mental health care to families in crisis. 

With your help, we can reach our $75,000 goal so it can be fully matched for a total contribution of $150,000.

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