Summer Centered: Lev Greenstein ’20 Promotes Peace and Justice at Casa de los Amigos
The prospective political science major is immersing himself as a volunteer in Mexico City.
Casa de los Amigos in Mexico City receives some 2000 guests a year. This summer, thanks to funding from Haverford's Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, Lev Greenstein '20 is one of them.
Since 1956, the Quaker home and guest house has been creating a community of social justice activism, simplicity, service and solidarity, including supporting refugees, migrants, and survivors of human rights crises via short-term housing, language classes, and other services. Casa de los Amigos also supports local businesses and spreads awareness of poverty and inequality to foster economic justice and sustainability.
For Greenstein—a prospective political science major who hopes to earn a minor in Spanish and concentrate in peace, justice, and human rights—volunteering at the Casa usually means managing guest reception, representing the organization, and organizing center events. But it can also include anything from making breakfast to updating the website or replacing a lightbulb.
“The most inspiring thing about working here is that [the Casa] has shown me a new perspective on the world,” Greenstein says. “I’ve had conversations focused on the livability of cities all across the globe with people over breakfast, and it’s been possible because our shared experiences span continents.”
The Philly local is also getting experience working at Casa Refugiados, a related organization that works in collaboration with the United Nations Commission for Refugees to promote the rights of people on the move—from refuges and asylum seekers to displaced peoples and migrants—and support better integration into the local communities.
“I’ve gotten to attend a number of workshops and team meetings where programs and general management are discussed,” he says. “Seeing a very similar area of work has been indispensable in understanding the networks of organizations that support refugee communities in Mexico City.”
Greenstein knew he was interested in migrant issues and doing work in immigration and human dignity ever since he interned with the HIAS PA, a Jewish organization dedicated to smoothing the transition process of immigrants into the U.S., in high school. His current work in Mexico is also relevant to the work he does studying borders and human rights in political science and Spanish classes at Haverford.
Greenstein first learned about the CPGC partnership with the Casa before he even officially enrolled at Haverford—during an information session at Open Campus Day for accepted students. Then, as a first-year, he attended both the winter break Migration Field Study trip, which included a weeklong stay at the Casa, and applied to be its summer intern.
“More than anything," he says "I appreciate the workers here, the guests here, and the community members here who have continually impressed upon me their breathtaking humanity and made my work mean something."