New Beginnings for and at La Posada Providencia

New Beginnings for and at La Posada Providencia

La Posada Providencia is proud to welcome Andi Atkinson as the newest addition to their staff. Andi will fill the newly created position of Executive Director and will be responsible for overseeing La Posada’s administrative, programmatic, and strategic initiatives.

Andi joins La Posada with more than 20 years of experience in the communications field, most recently as the public relations director at Marine Military Academy, in Harlingen. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism as well as a master’s degree in business.

Upon accepting the new position, Andi stated: “I am not only grateful, but eager for the opportunity to support La Posada’s mission and help empower the men, women and children who are trying to regain their lives in a new country.”

We are pleased to welcome Andi to La Posada,” said Rich Kirk, La Posada Board Chair. “Her enthusiastic commitment for La Posada’s ministry will enable us to garner greater community support and strengthen our resources so La Posada can continue the mission of welcoming the stranger. Given the current uncertainty facing immigrant children and their families, the mission and work of La Posada is needed as both a practical and hopeful response to this uncertainty.”

La Posada, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Divine Providence, has offered emergency shelter services to immigrants and asylum seekers in the Rio Grande Valley for the past 29 years. During this time, a Sister of Divine Providence has served as the Program Director.

“This July marks my tenth year serving as Program Director and the beginning of a new chapter in La Posada’s history,” said Sister Zita Telkamp, CDP. “I welcome Andi and am excited to have her join La Posada’s staff as Executive Director and look forward to working with her.  With Andi’s expertise, leadership and commitment to welcoming the stranger, La Posada Providencia’s ministry and mission will be in good hands.”

When she is not working, Andi spends most of her time volunteering. She is a member of First United Methodist Church of La Feria and serves as district president of the United Methodist Women. She is married to Brad Shields, and has two daughters: 21-year-old Tesla and nine-year-old Teresa.


Update on Mothers with Children

To date, La Posada has assisted one mother seeking to be reunited with her 16-year-old son. The process is very slow and for this mom, perhaps slower due to the age of her son. Children under the age of five are higher in priority for the reunification process. As we do with all of our clients, we provided for the immediate needs of this distraught mother and helped her make travel arrangements to her resettlement location. We pray for her and all families suffering with separation from their children.

Many mothers with children continue to arrive daily at our shelter. One recent mother’s gratitude particularly pulled at our hearts. Elia, from Guatemala, arrived with her three children, one of whom is a special needs child. They were released from a detention center in Texas, where they spent considerable time. They would have spent even more time waiting at La Posada while relatives in New Jersey raised enough funds to pay for the family to travel and join them. Fortunately, La Posada found a way to help the family and their wait was very short. When the mother was told of the efforts of staff and that funds were raised, she could not stop the tears from flowing. “Elia kept hugging me all the while crying,” said Program Director Sister Zita Telkamp, CDP. “The enormous gratitude she expressed touched my heart.”