Meet this year’s Border Fellow, Lexi
Lexi is from Northern Virginia and graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, last year. Her small group leader in college had done a Fellowship Initiative program in Charlotte, North Carolina, and told Lexi about it during her sophomore year. It sounded interesting, but she thought she would be anxious to get a job right out of college.
When she was finally in her senior year, the prospect of what to do after college was no longer a far-off possibility but something Lexi needed to make a decision on. Her small group leader encouraged her to look up the Fellowship Initiative on the internet and Lexi started to get really excited about the opportunity.
How does a Virginia native end up in the desert southwest?
The Border Fellows in El Paso was one of the last opportunities she looked at of all the Fellows Initiative locations (they have many opportunities across the U.S.), but something about it caught her attention.
“This seemed like a good fit for me and for what I want to do,” says Lexi. “I ended up filling out the application the day that I first read about it. A week later I interviewed with Sami,Yoli and Steven, and then two weeks after I applied, I was in!”
Lexi didn’t have any clear expectations or goals for her Border Fellows experience. She just knew she had a profound peace about her decision to come to El Paso, and felt that she could use her social work degree to help her in her work here.
“El Paso has taught me to be very flexible,” says Lexi. “I have fallen in love with the people and the kids I am working with. I realize that I love building relationships with people, especially the middle schoolers that I am assigned to and their families.”
Digging deep with the middle school students
Lexi has been assigned to work with the middle school students at Ciudad Nueva, and she has invested her whole heart into the work she is doing.
“She really loves working with the middle schoolers,” says Yoli, the Border Fellows director. “She has especially invested her time with the girls. She wasn’t sure when she first came if she would like working with this age group, but she has really come to love it. She is in charge of planning some weekly sessions and teaching. She has really applied herself and been there for the students.”
Not only has Lexi’s social work degree equipped her with skills for working with all kinds of people, she is also finding that her experiences at Ciudad Nueva are building on those skills for her future. She is now considering continuing her education with a master’s in social work.
”Now I will have a lot of experience to draw from,” says Lexi. “The concepts won’t be just in theory, I will actually have done some of it, and I can apply that to my work and school in the future.”
Finding inspiration through relationships
Lexi is excited about all that she will learn through the rest of her term. She feels the weight of responsibility that has been placed on her with her middle school students, but she says the staff has been great with supporting her and answering all her questions.
At the end of the day though, it is the relationships that have really impacted her. The staff at Ciudad Nueva are not just her team; they have become her close friends, and the students and their families have found a place in her heart.
“I know we are doing this work because it is benefiting the families,” says Lexi. “It is cool when you can see the progress and how much it is helping. Some days are really stressful or frustrating or disheartening, but then I see that God is working, and I know it is worth it.”