WELCOME TO JUSTICE KIDS A group focused on helping the Latino and immigrant community. Read More WELCOME TO JUSTICE KIDS Justice kids is a non-profit child organization of Grupo Latino de Acción. We are focused on helping Latinos and asylum seekers by preparing them for their legal proceedings, meeting with them, and translating for them. Read More

History

“You are never too young to change the world”

“Young people are agents of great transformation and changes in society”

In 2016, Kiara Skalnes began meeting with asylum seekers to discuss their immigration related matters. In 2018, Kiara met Antonia Serrano and together they founded Justice Kids, a nonprofit that helps children and asylum seekers prepare for legal proceedings.

When local immigration attorney Raquel Hecht asked her teenage daughter Kiara Skalnes for help with a young client a couple of years ago, something clicked for Kiara.

I met a nine-year-old girl who was going to have to testify on behalf of her dad, who was being deported,” Kiara recalls. The girl was nervous, didn’t understand what to do or what to say in court. “So I talked with her for a few hours,” says Kiara, who speaks Spanish and English. The girl began to relax, and a few hours later she was prepared and more confident for her court appearance. This experience inspired Kiara to continue working with asylum seekers and ultimately form Justice Kids with the help of Antonia, a native Chilean.  Justice Kids works in tandem with Grupo Latino De Accion Directa of Lane County. There are not enough immigration attorneys in town to deal with the demand, so GLAD pairs non-immigration lawyers with asylum seekers in order to provide them with representation. Volunteers for Justice Kids work alongside these lawyers to ensure that these clients are ready for their case.

Become a Volunteer

Mariana Hernandez

Co-President

I am a senior at Sheldon High School, I love embroidery, painting, and playing the flute. After graduation, I plan to attend college, and then I will likely apply to law schools to complete my education. I currently reside in Eugene, Oregon. My parents are immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico. I watched my parents be subjected to anti-immigrant rhetoric and faced discrimination because they did not speak English well. This has inspired me to find ways to help them and the larger immigrant community. Witnessing my parents’ hardships has also made me interested in becoming an immigration attorney. My work with Justice Kids has been extremely valuable because it has provided me with the opportunity to learn about immigration law as well as directly help asylum seekers develop their asylum claims. Recently, I have been the leader of outreach at Justice Kids. I contact new people to join our group and connect them with resources, such as internships with the JK program and other programs at the UO. I love helping them explore opportunities to have experiences that will benefit them now and in the future. I also started a Peer Support Group that focuses on helping the Latinx and immigrant community members by sharing their stories, discussing social/cultural values, providing a safe space, and empowering them to become independent and strong individuals. I’m currently a board member of GLAD (Grupo Latino de Accion Directa), a program dedicated to providing a voice to the Latinx community through hosting public forums in Spanish, targeting Latinx voters with voter registration drives, holding fundraisers, and hosting community events. Through GLAD, I collaborated with the All of Us program, a wing of the National Institute of Health, to provide outreach to the Latinx community on how to better their health care information and access. I hold a 4j equity board position in my district to improve diversity, and I have created the first Women of Color Advocacy group at my school which deals with having multicultural and intersectional conversations. With these projects, I hope to make an impact in my community to promote people of color and explore communities beyond my own town by creating programs that can be implemented nationwide.

Pablo Cortez

Co-Vice President

I am an incoming senior at the University of Oregon and I am currently studying philosophy, Spanish and legal studies. I plan on assisting law school after I graduate in order to become an immigration attorney. I am originally from Medford, which is where my parents settled after emigrating from Morelia, Michoacán. My family is a  major source of my inspiration to become an immigration attorney as well as joining Justice Kids. Not only have I seen the struggles they have experienced but I have also experienced them as I have been working alongside other immigrants and Latinos my entire life in jobs such as construction, housecleaning and wildland firefighting. I want to help Latinos and immigrants alike, whether that be through legal procedures or other parts of life as well.  One of my few hobbies is playing soccer and working on cars.

Noa Ablow Measelle

Co-President

I started volunteering for Justice Kids in her freshman year of highschool.  Currently I serve as Justice Kids co-president, and I am a senior at South Eugene High School. In my current role, I support the training of other volunteers, meet with asylum applicants, and I am working to change the asylum process in Oregon. Specifically through collaboration with Researchers at Stanford University in the use of trauma science to support successful asylum cases. I am working as a research analyst at the University of Oregon Center for Equity Promotion, where I am studying the impact of social inequities on immigrant communities’ long term health in the United States. As well, I am a competitive ski racer, member of the Varsity Tennis Team,  Monroe Middle School debate club coach and have served on the 4j school board as a student representative since my sophomore year.