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San Diego Border

Community Revitalization and Immigration on the U.S./Mexico Border


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Typical Program

Journey into the two different sides to one centralized issue: the border. Hear from local activists who believe that reform is necessary to this humanitarian issue, while also hearing directly from the border patrol who man the border fence. Work with international refugee population on urban green restoration initiatives. 

The border is not just a physical presence, but a mental one as well. Take the Chicano Park Mural tour, meet the Amigos Car Club, and hear from community development activists who fight daily to counter the media’s stereotypes of the Chicano community that has built a home and thriving culture in Barrio Logan.

Check out a Sample Itinerary    [view]    [download]

Duration and Directions

Fly directly into San Diego’s Lindbergh Field Airport or take the scenic drive from LAX. Although renting a car can be convenient for some groups, Via is more than happy to provide ground transportation at a nominal fee.

After arriving in San Diego, visitors will be welcomed by a traditional style lunch or dinner prepared by one of our promotora nutrition specialists . Next, volunteers will receive an orientation by Rigo Reyes, our Community Development Program Director, who will explain Via’s mission in San Diego and philosophy of community engagement. Volunteers will receive an overview of activities for the week and some background on the projects, people, and communities.
Volunteer Requirements

Volunteers should be adaptable and flexible, willing to work as part of a team, and respectful of local traditions, culture, and customs. Those taking part in community development projects need to be capable of doing physical work, although previous experience is not essential. Click here to view the packing checklist.

Food and Accommodations

As part of your immersion experience we’ve invited a nutrition expert from Tijuana, Mexico to join the group assisting with meal preparation, education, and cultural exchange. Enjoy traditional Mexican dishes prepared with a vegetarian nutritional model including fresh veggies, rice, legumes, soy, and other regional fare. Not to worry meat-eaters, we’ll still have chicken pozole and various tamales. Replenish with homemade agua frescas like, horchata, hibiscus, and tamarindo. For student groups, preparing food, eating together, cleaning up, and recycling are all part of the learning and immersion experience. 

Via International has partnered with two local churches each in their own unique location in close proximity to our headquarters in Barrio Logan. Enjoy the laid back culture while living only blocks away from the ocean.
Community and Region

Barrio Logan, one of San Diego’s oldest communities, is the hub of activism in the region. Since 1910, when Logan Heights experienced an influx of refugees from the Mexican Revolution, this area of San Diego has remained a largely hispanic and Chicano community. After decades of rezoning, transforming the Barrio into a community covered in concrete overpasses, the city council promised to build a park, but began construction of a highway patrol station instead. In the first of many social activist demonstrations, students and community members occupied the area until 12 days later, the land was rezoned for park use. So began the history of Chicano Park...

The Chicano Community, the self-given term for the population of Indigenous Mexican-Americans, has continued to struggle for cultural identification for years. Caught between borders, nations, and identities, this community, no longer identified as Mexican, created their own unique culture of art, music, low-riders, and food. As a result, a cultural identity shaped in the shadow of the border, the Chicano movement has become the center of social activism, peaceful protest, and grassroots organization here in San Diego.

Local Development Organizations

U.S. Border Patrol - The primary mission of the Border Patrol is to prevent terrorists and terrorists weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, from entering the United States. These men and women work around the clock to man the border between the United States and Mexico. We are grateful for their willingness to share their stories, perspectives, and the realities of security.

Chicano Park Steering Committee - This volunteer staffed committee helps to maintain the National Historic Site, Chicano Park. Giving tours, helping in mural restoration, and planning the annual Chicano Park Day, the Steering Committee is a symbol of community development embodying the spirit of the Chicano Movement. Their contribution to the revitalization of Barrio Logan in San Diego has been paramount.