By Elizabeth Campbell Fort Worth Star-Telegram
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Elisa O'Callaghan said she got the idea to make dolls for the children after seeing them "with nothing" as they waited on the Mexican side of the Matamoros International Bridge to find out if they will receive asylum in the United States.
When Elisa O'Callaghan began making trips to the border crossings in California and Texas, she was appalled to see children waiting on the Mexican side playing with rocks.
She vowed to bring them some comfort.
She chose to turn her anger and frustration into acts of kindness where she and several friends gather at a Southlake restaurant, All About Cha, to create "calm dolls." Calm stands for creating a loving memory.
O'Callaghan said she got the idea to make dolls for the children after seeing them "with nothing" as they waited on the Mexican side of the Matamoros International Bridge to find out if they will receive asylum in the United States.
She put out a call to action on Facebook telling her friends what she wanted to do, and the response was tremendous, she said. The women use their creativity when making the dolls. They bring different skills, with some sewing the dolls together while others create the faces or stuff the dolls which are also pillows for the children.
"It's more like a relationship we are starting (with the children). They want to be a part of something, to turn that energy, that anger into compassion," she said.
O'Callaghan and her friends met in various groups including Liberal Ladies and Indivisible Grapevine while working on the 2018 campaign for Beto O'Rourke when he ran for the U.S. Senate.
But O'Callaghan said the project is about love, not politics.
"This doll is not political to me; we are all human first. If you have any sense of decency about what's happening at the border, you have to have feelings for these children," O'Callaghan said tearfully.
Nancy Rubin said she got involved with the project because she was concerned about the children.
"I think we are giving a voice to those that don't have a voice," Rubin said.
Rubin said that she also buys other things for O'Callaghan to bring to the border such as clothing or gift cards.
Melissa Strause said she likes creating the faces for the dolls. The dolls have smiles on their faces to bring comfort to the children, she said.
"It brings me joy to know that I am helping a child," Strause said.
O'Callaghan said she brought 21 dolls to Brownsville last month, and hopes to send soon 40 more. She works with the nonprofit, Team Brownsville, that provides breakfast and dinner to people who are waiting in Mexico, seeking legal asylum in the United States.
Team Brownsville brings the dolls to the children.
O'Callaghan, who is also on the board of Justice for Our Neighbors, said she grew up in California where her parents migrated from Mexico and Ecuador to have a better life.
She was the first in her family to graduate from high school and eventually earned a master's degree in Human Behavior.
"I don't care who it is. If you have a heart, if you have a soul, if you have something to give, give it," she said.
TO MAKE DONATIONS O'Callaghan said that she and the other women involved in the project use their own money to purchase supplies for making dolls, but if people wish to donate, they can send checks to:
Elisa O'Callaghan (CALM) Justice for Our Neighbors Office 421 Church Street Grapevine, TX. 76051 ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.