Former immigrant helping others adjust to new surroundings

SAN BENITO — Mary Gillogly’s favorite thing about La Posada Providencia is listening to clients’ stories.

Mary herself immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was 5 years old.

So, she knows a thing or two about trying assimilate into new surroundings in a new country.

“I sympathize with the clients,” she said.

She also tries to help them in their transition whenever they need it.

La Posada’s volunteers play a big role in the shelter’s success, helping to “Welcome the Stranger.”

Mary said she volunteers twice a week and her time is usually spent driving clients to appointments and other places.

Due to the hard work of the volunteers, the shelter launched a Volunteers of the Month program. Each month, two of the wonderful volunteers will be randomly selected and recognized for all the work they do at La Posada.

Mary, who is a retired nurse, said she has been volunteering at the shelter for about four years.

She describes her friends at La Posada as family.

“Everything for the clients is here. Ever since I started volunteering, everyone has treated me like family,” she said. “I try to help them and let them know what they can expect.”

Volunteering for Mary allows her the opportunity to talk about La Posada to others.

“I volunteer God’s gift. What God has given me I volunteer it,” she said.

Since 1989, La Posada has provided a safe haven for more than 7,500 people from more than 70 countries.

It provides shelter, food, training, transportation and mentoring to today’s immigrants, all of whom are in the process of gaining legal asylum or residency.

The shelter was founded and is sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence. The shelter staff provides a safe and welcoming home, mentors to promote self-sufficiency and cultural integration, and imparts values which witness God’s Providence in our world.

As a shelter that also aims to educate the public on immigration, they often host many volunteers from around the United States throughout the year.

“La Posada does very well teaching them,” Mary said. “I see all the good things the shelter does with my own eyes.”