A 16-year-old from Connecticut who attends Greenwich High School recently designed a website intended to serve as an online resource for immigrant children and teenagers with questions and concerns about the possible deportation of their parents (or guardians).
According to Fox News, Jody came up with the idea to create the website after she experienced firsthand concerns and confusion about deportation from close friends and classmates. Bell learned that a lot of immigrant teenagers and children had questions about deportation but were afraid to talk to anyone about them for fear of drawing attention to their family, parents, or guardians.
“They would talk to close friends, like me and some others,” Bell explained to Fox News. “And that, I think, was one of the first times that I recognized that this was an issue.”
Jody told Fox News she always knew she wanted to take some sort of action regarding the immigration issue, but she wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do about it. While Bell was brainstorming how to “take action” she learned of an organization in Connecticut called Girls With Impact. The organization included a 12-week program that taught teenage girls how to create businesses, nonprofits, and projects that could have an impact on the world.
Bell signed up for the program and was in one of the very first groups of graduates – finishing up the program in the spring of 2017. With everything she learned from the program, she launched her website called “In Case of Deportation” this month.
Targeting an audience of children between the ages of 8 and 18, the language on Bell’s website is written in a way that children can understand. The website explains exactly what deportation is, how to discuss the issue with family members, what options a child has if their parent gets deported, and how to prepare for deportation as a child.
Bell introduces what deportation is and how to prepare for an emergency deportation on her website with the following statement.
“In some situations, your parent/guardian may be detained and arrested awaiting deportation without even saying goodbye or having just a few minutes to prepare you. Before this abrupt detainment happens, it’s important that you and your family are prepared in case of emergency deportation.”
In Bell’s emergency plan, she encourages families to take practical steps and make sure children have house keys, copies of their medical records, and copies of their identification paperwork. Families are also encouraged to sit down and teach children how to find financial and legal assistance.
Jody composed the information on her website for children concerned or at risk of deportation after spending months researching and talking to experts such as advocacy groups, state officials, and immigration lawyers.
Jody does plan on continuing to update and evolve her website. And, it is already being used by a few different school districts.