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Bilingual volunteers sought in Phoenix to spend time with migrant kids facing deportation

A national nonprofit that helps migrant children who arrive at the U.S. border alone is calling for bilingual volunteers to support offices in Phoenix and other cities.

The group plans to hold a two-day training session in late June for those age 21 and up who want to help advocate for kids facing deportation.

The program is run by the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, which matches each volunteer with a migrant child to spend about an hour of quality time together each week.

“The goal is to develop a slow-growth organic relationship. And to be a positive, safe adult in that child’s life,” said Isobel Conroy, Arizona volunteer coordinator. “If they want to read, if they want to explore some of (the child’s) hobbies. Making music. Making art. Anything that would be helpful, or would be of interest to the child. We encourage our volunteers to get creative.”

Conroy noted a recent increase of children arriving alone from certain countries in Africa.

Wolof, Arabic and French appear on the nonprofit’s list of a dozen languages that volunteers are needed to speak.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.