We recently welcomed two new leaders to our Board of Directors, Tony Dabdoub and Maria Silva. They recently began their terms as our new Board Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively. Both bring tremendous leadership experience and deep commitment to our work as residents of Nogales, Sonora.
Maria Silva, a Nogales native, currently serves with the International Rescue Committee, where she supports migrants seeking asylum at the border. She first encountered Kino in 2017, when she began volunteering while earning her Master’s degree. She joined the board in 2020.
“I work closely with many organizations who support migrants on both sides of the border, and I consider Kino to be a role model for others. I admire the mission and really believe in the holistic approach to accompanying migrants that we have. Keeping human dignity at the center is so important, because migrants are members of our communities. I think it’s so easy to look at migrants as foreigners, when in reality we are all human beings with value.”
As someone born and raised in Nogales, Maria sees Kino’s work as essential to ensuring her hometown can thrive. She says, “Due to our location, we will always be a city of migrants. Nogales has a lot to learn about the benefits of a better coexistence and integration of migrants can bring.”
Antonio “Tony” Dabdoub is a developer who specializes in construction of buildings and parks. He first came into contact with KBI through Father Sean Carroll, who met him in Nogales. He learned about the work of KBI and joined the board in 2017.
When asked why he wanted to get involved, he says, “As residents of Nogales and as Christians, this is our opportunity to show love. I want us to be sensitive and loving to migrants, recognizing that they are our siblings. So many Nogalenses are afraid, and there’s no reason for that. Migrants will continue to come here, and we have the opportunity to support them.”
Tony took his support of KBI even further when it was time to build the new Migrant Outreach Center.
“I offered to help with the construction of the new building,” he says. His team was in charge of creating the comedor as you see it today.
Tony says he is proud of that project, and committed to support the work of KBI in whatever way he can. “The work of changing hearts, minds, and policy is difficult. It happens little by little, but we are making progress. Kino is totally unique in this area, and that’s why I wanted to be a part of achieving our vision in whatever way I can.
“To others who are considering getting involved, I want them to know that there are so many ways. Just take one step. You can support by donating shoes to migrants and other practical items. You can serve on the board. You can volunteer to serve a meal. Even if you don’t feel like you have a lot of time or experience, there are ways for you to join this work.”
The most important things, he says, is that each person puts their whole heart into whatever effort they make. “I think everyone at Kino does that. They put their hearts into this work,” he says. In particular, Tony feels indebted to his fellow board members and to Gerry Corrigan, the outgoing Chair of the Board.
“Now, we are going to keep going in the direction that has been laid out. I’m so happy to be a part of it,” he says.
We couldn’t think of two better people to help us meet this moment – one when we are embarking on our new Strategic Plan and seeking the next horizon together.