At the heart of JAMLAC’s impactful community efforts are stories of remarkable individuals like Don Orange and Maria Elena “Miga” Pena, whose dedication and passion for legal aid enlightened our mission. Don, from Greeley, Colorado, has been a vital part of our team since August, braving the long commute from Greeley to Denver to volunteer in our immigration department, including our Naturalization workshops. His aspiration to master every aspect of immigration law is truly inspiring, and his vision to lead the immigration clinic he plans to establish in Greeley promises a bright future.
Don’s journey with JAMLAC began with a heartfelt introduction email in July, highlighting his alignment with JAMLAC’s vision and his excitement to serve the underrepresented. For over two decades, Don has immersed himself in community service, first as a local church pastor and now as a Community Chaplain for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. His efforts are currently focused on starting a DOJ-recognized immigration clinic, the Low-Cost Legal Clinic in Greeley, fueled by his deep-rooted commitment to the values of service and compassion.
Joining Don in this endeavor is Miga Pena, a bilingual pastor at the Greeley Vineyard Church. Miga has been instrumental in working alongside Don to open Immigrant Hope-Greeley, a legal aid clinic. Like Don, she also travels to Denver every Tuesday to train with JAMLAC’s immigration department. Her contributions have been invaluable, especially in translating documents and interpreting for our non-Spanish-speaking staff. Miga’s dedication to her community is profound, and her lifelong dream of becoming an immigration attorney stems from witnessing the needs of her immigrant friends and community members. She hopes to help the community navigate the complex immigration system under Immigrant Hope-Greeley as she becomes a DOJ-accredited representative.
Miga’s partnership with JAMLAC and her collaboration with Don are powerful demonstrations of the impact of joint efforts in extending our reach beyond Denver. Their stories are not just about individual achievements but also about the broader transformation within communities when united by a common purpose.
As we anticipate the successful launch of Immigrant Hope-Greeley, we are reminded of the significant ripple effect that dedication and volunteerism can have in fostering a more inclusive and compassionate society. The journeys of Don and Miga with JAMLAC exemplify how commitment to service can enact meaningful change, both locally and beyond.