US - Mexico Border

Madres y Familias Deportadas en Accion

see info below


Please note the information below reflects the dates, prices, and itinerary for our 2020 course which was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to monitor the situation and will update the course information for Summer 2021 once we have deemed the course safe in consultation with science-based recommendations, NGO leaders’ insight, advice from SStS board member physicians, and travel industry knowledge from Global Rescue. We have no intention to travel under any circumstances that do not meet our high expectations for risk management. If you have any questions about Summer 2021 programming please contact Bill Cotter ([email protected]).


July 26 to August 2, 2020

8 Days

Arrival City

San Diego

SStS partners with Madres y Families Deportadas en Accion and other non-profits that provide services to migrants in need along the U.S. – Mexican border.
The US- Mexico border course begins in San Diego, where the students will spend the first afternoon learning about the rich multi-cultural history of the region and its people through the murals at Chicano Park.

They will then drive to the small California town of Jacumba, where they will be able to directly experience the harsh desert landscape that migrants confront when attempting to cross the border. After a night at a local church and a short hike along the border wall, the group will return to San Diego to visit the U.S. side of Friendship Park, which is situated where the border meets the Pacific Ocean. After learning about the history of this unique state park, the students may be able to work on a bi-national garden near where families who have been separated by deportation or differences in citizenship are allowed to meet briefly each weekend through a closely monitored section of the border fence.

After their initial exposure to the border region from the U.S. side, the group will drive to Tijuana where they will begin working directly with several non-profit organization who are addressing the significant challenges that aspiring migrants, asylum seekers, and the recently deported face as they seek stability and safety in their lives. An evening will be spent hearing the personal stories of women associated with Madres Deportadas y Familias en Accion, an organization dedicated to supporting people navigating the tough transitions they face after being deported or while seeking asylum. The group will then spend a couple mornings serving breakfast at El Desayunador and potentially facilitating enrichment activities for the children who receive services there. The group will also volunteer at Casa del Migrante, a shelter and support center for men. Through these activities and visits to additional cultural sites, students will be exposed to issues of globalization and migration, human rights across borders, and race and racism as they discuss practical and democratic solutions to the complex debates that animate the region.

Learn More

Madres y Familias Deportadas en Accion strives to connect people along the San Diego/Tijuana border region by fostering relations through community service, education, collaboration and cultural exchange. To learn more, please visit their website.

Madres Deportadas en Accion

Course Elements

The course elements are based on a rating from 1 to 5, 1 being the least rigorous, 5 being the most rigorous.


The group will volunteer with three different organizations, Madres y Familias Deportadas en Accion, Casa del Migrante, and El Desayunador, to learn more about how each is supporting migrants at the border.


Prior to their travels, students complete a series of online activities (about 60 minutes each). While traveling, they also read engaging articles, participate in cultural experiences, and facilitate discussions.


While in Jacumba, the group will take a short hike in the desert along the border. The group will also spend time exploring various cultural sites on foot. However, these activities only require short walks.

Living Conditions60%

The group will spend the first night at a church in Jacumba. While in Tijuana, they will stay in a simple hotel. They will also spend an evening in shared rooms at Casa del Migrante.

On the Move40%

After arriving in San Diego, the group will drive for about 90 minutes to the small town of Jacumba. After an evening and morning there, they will spend the remainder of their time in Tijuana and San Diego.


Although the group will meet with multiple non-profit leaders and their beneficiaries, they do not stay in the homes of individual families.


The group will spend a majority of their time exploring different neighborhoods in San Diego and Tijuana. One evening will be spent in the small town of Jacumba, California.

Element Descriptions


Day 1

Arrival day, begin group orientation, visit Chicano Park, drive to Jacumba

Day 2

Visit the border wall, explore U.S. Friendship Park, travel to Tijuana, meet with Madres y Familias Deportadas en Accion

Day 3

Visit Mexican Friendship Park, afternoon activities with children from El Desayunador

Day 4

Serve breakfast at El Desayunador, visit Museo de los Californias and Mercado Hidalgo, meet with Deported Veterans of America

Day 5

Volunteer at El Desayunador, afternoon activity

Day 6

Visit Movimiento Juventud 2000 and Santuario Internacional, volunteer and stay at Casa del Migrante

Day 7

Visit Ollin Calli, maquiladora tour, closing activities

Day 8

Return to San Diego, departure day

US - Mexico Border

: In Three Phases


the 5 Lenses Curriculum

Prior to departure, students are guided by their course instructors through a series of interactive, online lessons. Organized by SStS’s Five Lenses Curriculum, these activities (60 minutes per week) allow students to directly engage with other members of
the group.


partnering with ngos

The majority of the days at each site are spent engaged in meaningful service work with our NGO (non-governmental organization) partner. Days not dedicated to project work are spent immersed in intriguing cultural activities.


post travel advocacy

During the next school year, students educate others by advocating for our NGO partner through public presentations to the community at large and/or younger, school-based audiences.

A Glimpse Into The Border Region

Important Details

Cost Information

Students who attend a school that is a member of SStS’s Global Schools Coalition receive a tuition discount. To see the list of schools in the coalition, click HERE.

Tuition (students from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $2100
Tuition (students not from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $2200

SStS is in search of curious, compassionate, globally-minded students. Thus, we will do all that we can financially to support students whose circumstances preclude paying the full cost. If you would like to be considered for financial assistance, please indicate so on the application. Financial assistance resources are limited. Scholarships tend to be less than 50% of tuition.

Please note, tuition does not include airfare.
Tuition costs are all inclusive with the exception of personal expenditures (e.g. souvenirs).
Talbot Travel Agency provides travel services for SStS, working personally with us to find the least expensive fares.

Travel Expectations

Please note that we expect all participants to arrive in San Diego within a defined window of time to be picked up by their course instructors. Additionally, traveling as a group inevitably includes “the unexpected.” SStS will adjust the itinerary accordingly, making the best of uncontrollable situations. Due to the unknown variables in travel, participants are asked not to make travel plans or to enroll in programs that start immediately after their return. SStS is not responsible for expenses incurred due to missed flights if the group is delayed in their return.



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