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Local organization fights for the rights of migrants

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  He had a tattoo of a lion with a soccer ball on his left forearm. It could be assumed from his tattoo that his journey began in San Marcos, Guatemala, near the border with Mexico. It could be believed he was born to loving parents who introduced him to the local club football team that had a lion mascot. One would like to think he grew up a happy child, playing soccer in the streets with other kids his age and dreaming bigger than any adult imagination could conceptualize. These dreams and aspirations would then find him running after trains and crossing borders in his early 20 s, only to have his body fail him in the vast, barren desert of Southern Arizona. For now, his name is John Doe with the lion and soccer ball tattoo, not to...

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Refugees get help planting new roots in Arizona

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    Somalian refugee Suleiman Arive carefully moves his foot farther up the tree branch to knock another grapefruit the size of a small basketball down to Bhutanese refugee Jasoda. She catches it, bringing a wide smile across her face. Arive laughed and politely asked me to retrieve his phone from his bag to Snapchat their teamwork as he reached for another unwanted grapefruit from a tree in a Tucson backyard. Arive and Jasoda are volunteering with a creative refugee network that gives those fleeing their conflict-stricken homes in Africa, Asia and the Middle East the opportunity to gain skills to better integrate them into their new home in Southern Arizona — all while saving them a trip to the grocery store by providing them with fruit and vegetables at no cost. Iskashitaa Refugee Network allows displaced people from over 30...

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Local librarian encourages reading through fun and innovative ways

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“X, O, C, H, I, Q, U, E, T, Z, A, L … Xochiquetzal,” said Nicola, the uncertain contestant. “I truly can’t believe it, but you’re right!” announced librarian Lupita Chavez. The room full of appalled bar patrons started to clap, cheer and clink their beer glasses together as they came to terms with the young lady spelling such an abstract word this far into the game. “These events are different — I mean, a spelling bee in a bar?” Tap & Bottle co-owner Rebecca Stafford said. “I love it. It brings people who are avid spellers out, but also a lot of my patrons who are hanging out and think, ‘Why not?’” This is just one of the fun ideas Pima County librarian Karen Greene has brought to the Tucson community to encourage reading among children and adults, which has...

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Homeless youth invisible in Southern Arizona

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They are the hidden ones living under a different roof each week. By no fault of their own, they are outcasts without a home. They are teens missing football games and school dances to work extra shifts to pay for another meal. They are poor and battling the world alone. “Homeless youth, is one of those things that sort of perplexes people,” said Kristyn Conner, director of development at Youth On Their Own, a dropout prevention program in Tucson. “It is out of sight and out of mind. With adult homelessness, you can see it. But with homeless youth, it is different because they aren’t actually living on the streets as much as their adult counterparts.” In its most recent report, the state Department of Education reported 28,391 enrolled homeless children and youth in grades pre-kindergarten through 12th grade....

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