Neighbor Story – United States

Read the below story:


When Elvis Garcia Callejas was 15 years old, he had to leave his home country of Honduras and come to the United States alone. Because he had no family in the United States, he had to stay in a detention center in El Paso, Texas.

One day, he was adopted by a Catholic family named the Tobins. They helped him go to school. When he grew up he wanted to help young people like himself who had immigrated from another country. He remembered that when he was younger playing soccer helped him adjust to his new country, because children in Honduras and other countries around the world also play soccer. So he started a soccer team for teenagers who had recently arrived as immigrants or refugees to the United States.

“Many of these kids found themselves forced to leave their country,” he explained. “Soccer is something these kids understand, in a country where nothing else looks familiar. On the field they can forget about the problems they’re going through. They can be themselves without being judged.”

Review as a Class: 

  • How old was Elvis he when he traveled to the United States? 
  • Who did he travel with?  
  • What happened when he got to the United States? 
  • Did anyone help him? How? 
  • How does he help other children today?

Discuss: Why do you think Elvis chooses to work with children who are immigrants? How does soccer help the young people that Elvis works with? What problems do you think soccer helps the kids he works with forget about? Why do you think the kids he works with might feel “judged” when they move to a new country?

Extension Question:  What are some activities you could do in your school, community, or parish to welcome others?