The main office for ALDEA – The People’s Justice Center is located at 532 Walnut Street, Reading, Pennsylvania. We provide quality pro bono or discounted legal representation across the state in areas including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Norristown, York County, etc. We also provide services in other states across this great nation, so please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information and services in your region.
The concept of the Aldea (Village) is a community living together and caring for each other’s needs. In that spirit, the mission of ALDEA – The People’s Justice Center is to provide a holistic approach to meeting the multi-faceted needs of our immigrant community members, including through legal, social, educational, and medical services.
On the Ground (OTG) Advocate/s are central to Aldea's mission. The OTG Advocates work primarily with families detained at the Berks detention facility. The OTG Advocate/s play an integral role in representing detained families as they are often the first point of contact for newly-detained families. If you are interested in OTG opportunities, please contact Aldea or complete a survey found under the Volunteer Opportunities section.
Aldea is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was formed, in part, as a response to the continued detention of mothers, fathers, and children at the Berks County Residential Center, an immigrant detention center in Leesport, Pennsylvania that holds asylum seeking families. Aldea's core attorneys have represented detained families at Berks for nearly four years. It is Aldea's mission to ensure that no parent and child detained at Berks is forced to navigate the complex immigration process alone. In response to the ever-increasing rate of immigration enforcement, Aldea now represents other detained and non-detained individuals as well, including those caught up in illegal raids and parents separated from their children by Customs and Border Patrol. Aldea’s legal efforts are supported by volunteer attorneys and advocates who specialize in immigration law and who have years of expertise representing under-served immigrant communities. Aldea is always seeking to expand its volunteer base and add qualified attorneys and legal assistants to our network. If you are interested in volunteering with Aldea, please complete a survey found under the Volunteer Opportunities section.
Aldea is always seeking volunteers who are fluent in languages other than English. Aldea has an ever-increasing need of interpreters who speak rare and/or Indigenous languages. While the majority of Aldea’s clients are Spanish-speakers, Aldea represents clients from all over the world. These volunteers often interpret telephonically, meaning volunteers can help in Aldea’s efforts from anywhere in the world! If you are interested in offering your language skills to help us further our mission, please complete a survey found in the Volunteer Opportunities section.
Patricia Velasco is the daughter of immigrant parents from Oaxaca, Mexico. As a child, she and her family moved three to four times a year, following the various vegetable seasons across the United States. Working in the crop fields alongside the migrant mothers and fathers is where Patricia developed an appreciation and understanding of the many sacrifices which immigrants make in order to provide a better, safer, future for their children. She has witnessed, and experienced, first-hand the many obstacles and challenges in areas ranging from housing, education, legal, and social services which the immigrant community faces. For this reason, Patricia has committed her skills, knowledge, and expertise in the areas of strategic management, interpersonal relations, and immigration services, to serve the community which raised her.
Shana was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois. At age 19, after two years of college at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, Shana joined a program named Mission Year and was placed in the west Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. This is the place where she fell in love with the city and the people in it. Shana graduated with her Bachelors and Masters degrees in social work from Temple University in Philadelphia. She worked with children in the child welfare system for several years before assisting in the startup of the first Housing First program for families that were experiencing homelessness, as well as being involved with the child welfare department, whether by having children in foster care or having a history of abuse. These families were also experiencing mental health diagnosis'. From there, Shana moved on to working with people experiencing homelessness and in need of medical care. She assisted with a Federally Qualified Health Center becoming a self-standing and self-sufficient healthcare for the homeless program. In 2010, she began raising the next generation of world changers - three little ones, Mari, Caleb, and Joshua, that call her mom.
Gladys Dubon Chicas is a vocal advocate for refugee’s rights and the end of family detention. Gladys is intimately familiar with the United States’ policy on detaining families seeking asylum in the United States and the re-traumatization this causes to refugees. Gladys and her young daughter fled their home in Central America due to violence and harm they faced there. Gladys and her daughter spent approximately a year detained at the Berks County Family Residential (detention) Center (BCRC) in Leesport, Pennsylvania. Eventually, Gladys and her daughter won their case and were granted refugee status in the United States. Throughout her time fighting her asylum case in detention and since winning her case, Gladys has been an outspoken advocate for those who face a similar situation. Gladys continues to support and advocate for women and children seeking protection in the United States.