KIND Staff Gives Know Your Rights Presentations in San Francisco Schools

January 12, 2024

Unaccompanied children in schools across the United States often do not know how the U.S. immigration system works or what their rights are in this system. Since 2021, KIND has been providing Know Your Rights (KYR) presentations to students in high schools in San Francisco to help empower them and to give them a basic understanding of the legal process. In 2023, staff from KIND’s San Francisco office gave KYR presentations in five San Francisco high schools under a new grant from the San Francisco Unified School District. 


Sharing information with youth through KYR presentations has a real impact on immigrant youth. KIND Paralegal Yami Verdin shared one example from a presentation she gave in which a child learned that she could have her own case apart from her father and that she qualified for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). In another case, an indigenous Guatemalan girl was worried about a one-year filing deadline, but she learned in the KYR presentation that this rule does not apply to her, and later KIND took her case. 


A typical KYR starts with KIND staff leading icebreakers in small groups to help young people feel more comfortable and to gauge their expectations. The presentation goes over children’s rights, the different types of relief available, including SIJS and asylum, and provides the children with resources and connections to help them prepare for any upcoming hearings.   


Gabriela Moraga, senior attorney at KIND’s San Francisco office, explained that giving KYR presentations in schools also provides an opportunity for KIND to work with school district staff and build rapport with school administrators, which can then help facilitate access to education. For example, if KIND has a client who needs to enroll in school or explore alternative schooling options that best fits their needs, KIND social services staff can draw on existing relationships with schools to help make this happen. 


This year, KIND staff also gave a KYR presentation to sixty students in Oakland and are hoping to expand this work into the Oakland Unified School District in coming years. KIND Paralegal Jeremy Costello, one of the staff members who gives the presentations, shared how important it is to disseminate this critical information into the community: “Our office has a limited number of cases we can take. Our goal in presenting in high schools is to give young people the information they need to be their own advocates and to share that knowledge with the people around them.”  


KIND also gives KYR presentations to children in government custody, which you can learn more about here.