The Immigration Project

Zachariah Barr

Portrait of Zachariah Barr.

Zach was born and raised in Bloomington-Normal. He attended Heartland Community College and transferred to Illinois State University. Through the coursework required for his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy (2016) he enjoyed the opportunity to study, grow, and receive a little praise for “thinking too much” about a few things, including moral theory, human behavior, and literature.

From 2015-2019, he worked as a coordinator at a local homeless shelter, Home Sweet Home Ministries (Bloomington), where he was specifically charged with serving the dining center and the Bread for Life Co-op – a food cooperative which emphasizes building community and alleviating the hardship of chronic food insecurity. Through this work, he was able to gain a greater understanding of the varied hopes and needs of the community through each member’s unique stories.

Some of those stories were of the toil, determination, and gratefulness of immigrants, doing their best here to make a life for their family. Learning of the work the Immigration Project does and has been doing for years to help the immigrant community access legal services for all of downstate Illinois, he was happy to find an opportunity to serve the organization as a Volunteer Coordinator through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.