In a recent interview with Ivette Fuentes, the Development Associate for the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), her journey from volunteer to an essential member of the organization encourages us to remember the importance of migration with dignity. Born and raised in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, Ivette’s dedication to serving migrant families in need has made a lasting impact.
Ivette’s introduction to KBI began when she lived in Arizona while she attempted to acquire her permanent residency in the United States in 2010. With the help of her parish’s priest, she connected with Father Sean, who was the Executive Director of KBI. She initially volunteered her time in the office to support KBI’s mission.
Months of volunteering led to a pivotal moment when Ivette received her work permit. Father Sean recognized her dedication and offered her a position as an assistant in the office. “I was volunteering with [Father Sean] for several months, and when I received my work permit, he offered me to be hired as an assistant at the office. I accepted it. It was definitely a blessing for me. I’ve been here since then.”
At first, she offered administrative support, but Ivette’s passion for development grew. Over the years, she took on responsibilities such as managing the database of donors’ gifts and learning QuickBooks. As her involvement with donors increased, Ivette’s role evolved, leading her to her current position as Development Associate. We’re thankful that she’s been with us for now 11 years.
In her role, Ivette now has direct contact with KBI’s supporters, a responsibility she cherishes. She recalls a particular phone call from a donor during the time when caravans were in motion. “[A donor] called me because he was worried about if we were ready, if we were capable to receive them, and he was also asking how the situation was. He wanted to be more supportive. It was a good way to be in contact with them and to know that they are worried for the staff and for the migrant families.” Such interactions displayed her ability to liaise between KBI and its supporters, as well as the genuine care and compassion they share.
Ivette emphasizes that without the support of donors, KBI would not be able to provide the essential services to accompany migrating families. “I just want to thank our supporters. I want to bless them. I admire them because it’s not easy to share what you have, but we have long-time supporters, we have new supporters, and it’s because of them that we are giving families what they are looking for.”