A huge welcome to Parisa Shirazi, a Border Servant Corps volunteer who is working with hOur Time for the next year! Parisa comes to Las Cruces by way of Chicago, her hometown, and Milwaukee, where she did her undergraduate work at Marquette University, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish.
Parisa first visited the border region in March, when she participated in a border immersion trip to El Paso for five days. At that time in her life graduation from Marquette was looming but her plans on continuing on to law school weren’t feeling right. She knew very little about life on the U.S. / Mexico border, but she was curious and jumped at the opportunity to participate in the immersion program and visit for five days.
Those five days changed the direction of her life. Her experiences included staying at the Annunciation House where she interacted with migrant women in need; observing the experiences of those in immigration court; and meeting with farm workers. These experiences made a deep impression on her, and when she returned to Milwaukee and Chicago, she couldn’t stop thinking about what she saw and experienced.
She soon withdrew her applications from law school and decided to simply find a job. Yet none of the jobs she was applying for excited her, but she didn’t know what she wanted. But then she heard about Border Servant Corps, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Peace Lutheran Church which hosts full-time volunteers for a year who work with border issues such as domestic violence, immigration, poverty, and other social needs. These volunteers pledge to live lives that emphasize social justice, community, spirituality, and simplicity during their year of service.
After learning about the Border Servant Corps, she knew she must apply. And this is how she came to us!
She arrived in Las Cruces on August 13th, and is loving it here. And her thoughts on chile? As an Iranian-American she grew up on Persian cuisine, which is sweet and lacking in hot spices. Consequently her experiences with chile have been very intense, but so far she has survived her fiery encounters.
As a Border Servant Corps volunteer, she is working with Kari Bachman to advance and grow hOur Time. Her work includes conducting orientations, reaching out to prospective members, assisting current members, and raising awareness of hOur Time by participating in various community events.
Perhaps one of the most inspiring things about Parisa and her experiences in working closely with Kari and becoming more familiar with the borderlands is that she feels she has now found her calling in life: working to advance health equity in communities. Once her time with Border Servant Corp ends, she is planning on pursuing a graduate degree in public health or something similar.
We are so fortunate to have you live and work with us, Parisa! Welcome!