BY MELISSA FEITO
This March, I had possibly my most meaningful experience with the Loretto Community yet. I was one of two volunteers who attended the 2019 Border Encounter in Tucson, Arizona. Our small group also included teachers from St. Mary’s Academy in Denver (a Loretto high school) and several Loretto co-members. On this encounter, we visited both the Mexican and American side of the U.S.-Mexico Border to bear witness to the struggles of the thousands of migrants who seek refuge in this country. It was as enlightening as it was heartbreaking.
After our trip wrapped up, I stayed behind for several days as a reporter for Interfaith Voices, my placement of two years. This reporting is my capstone of sorts, a culmination of all the skills I have learned over my two years. Producing this story also has a special meaning to me. I am a first generation American, my parents are latinx immigrants from Cuba and Uruguay. Though they crossed by air, not by land, they too knew the challenges of poverty, alienation, and family separation when they came to the U.S. as youths. Being able to tell the stories I do in this episode of Interfaith Voices was incredibly meaningful to me and reminded me why I do what I do. But instead of going on and on here, why don’t I just let you listen to the show yourself?
I’m so happy this is one of the final projects I will have accomplished during my time in Loretto. These past few years have been some of the most challenging in my life, and the most joyous. Right now things are tough: I don’t know what’s coming next for me. The future is scary blank slate. But I know I will look back at this time in my life fondly, and I hope the confidence I have gained from the Loretto community will strengthen me in the journey to come.
You can listen to all of the stories Melissa has reported and/or produced during her time as a Loretto Volunteer at Interfaith Voices on her soundcloud page.
Melissa Feito is originally from Miami, FL and graduated from Tufts University in Medford, MA in 2016. She studied English, and double minored in Communication & Media studies and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality studies. During her time in college, she was a writing tutor, a freeform DJ, a founding member of a creative writing club, and was involved in the Catholic chaplaincy and the Interfaith Student Council. In her free time she likes to cook, read sci-fi and fantasy novels, go to the movies, and play music.
In Their Own Words
We invite you to get to know Loretto Volunteers and the program here. Volunteers introduce themselves and reflect on their experiences.