Meet Jessica Gutierrez Blog Post Banner

Jessica joined IINE in 2023 as an Immigrant Family Support Coordinator on our Unaccompanied Children’s Program (UCP) team. The UCP team helps children, some as young as two years old, who have fled their homes in Central America and crossed the Mexico/U.S. border unaccompanied to seek refuge from violence, poverty, and instability, to reunite with their families in the U.S. Working throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, parts of New Hampshire and Maine, and the New York City area, the UCP team serves more than 600 children and their families every year. In our latest employee profile, Jessica shares her journey to IINE, what she enjoys most about her role, and how she likes to spend her time outside of the office. 

What brought you to the International Institute of New England?

Jessica apple picking

Jessica enjoys apple picking during an IINE staff outing

I graduated from Lesley University in 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Children, Youth, and Families Studies with a minor in Social Work. I’ve always wanted to work with people and help those in need. My first job out of college was at a nonprofit organization working with adults with developmental disabilities. I was there for two years and knew I wanted to keep exploring different fields. During undergrad, I completed an internship at a nonprofit legal organization and was interested in working with the immigrant community. At a young age, as a bilingual, I was translating and interpreting documents for my family and friends. When I was searching for my next endeavor, I was considering continuing to work in the developmental disability field but was having a hard time. I then started searching for something I knew I had a passion for: working with refugees and immigrants.

What does your day-to-day look like?

On an average day, I begin by checking my calendar to see if I have any home visits or meetings scheduled. I have team meetings weekly where we learn about new topics related to our clients. I then read my emails to see if there are any urgent emails I have to answer right away. I also turn my work phone on and return any messages or calls from clients. I usually spend the morning working on a home visit assessment or my case notes, or looking for resources for my clients. When I have finished those tasks, I will complete check-in calls with my clients or home visits in the afternoon. During check-in calls, I assess my client’s safety, making sure they feel comfortable in their placement, and discuss their ongoing goals and how I can help them achieve them. During home visits, I get to know the families and help them connect to the appropriate resources.

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most? 

Jessica hiking a volcano in El Salvador

Jessica hiking a volcano in El Salvador

I enjoy getting to know all the families I work with and being able to talk and motivate the children/youth and encourage them to be their best! Families really appreciate someone being there for them, to listen and share resources. Another aspect I enjoy is collaborating with my colleagues. They all bring their own experience to the team and are very helpful. My role challenges me every day as each case brings new tasks to learn.

What advice would you share with someone who is interested in this work?

Be dedicated to helping your clients, and your clients will always appreciate your efforts, small or big. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for support; they are full of knowledge and willing to help!

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of the office?

During my free time, I love finding a good series to watch. Summer is my favorite season; I love going on walks/runs on a nice hot day or soaking up the sun and reading a good book. This year I’m looking forward to learning new recipes!

Interested in joining our team? Our collaborative, team-oriented environment offers opportunities to serve refugees and immigrants, while learning from other staff and departments. View career opportunities here.