VR Storytelling

Looking past headlines and statistics about deportation you’ll find people who are caught in between a country that kicked them out and a country they don’t understand. They can often fall into depression, turn to addiction, which could lead to suicide. But there are non-profits and churches trying to catch them and help them adjust to their new lives beyond the border.

In this 5-part series, immerse yourself to experience their diverse and complex stories.
JOVRNALISM™ is an award-winning virtual reality journalism project based at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, led by Prof. Robert Hernandez. The student-led course has produced immersive experiences for The New York Times, NPR, NBC, USA Today and others. Learn more and see their other stories here: http://www.jovrnalism.io/.
The Deported
The number of deportations is increasing and while many think deportees are just criminals, they are mothers, pastors and even U.S. Veterans. In the second chapter of the series, hear their stories as they cope with life on the other side of the border.
Offering help and hope
Nearly every day San Diego resident Maria Galleta heads south of the border to offer resources to the recently deported or migrants seeking asylum. From housing to jobs or even listening to their stories, Galleta — lovingly known as Mari Cookie — is a one-woman non-profit doing everything she can to help those who are seeking a new life.
Rebuilding a New Life and Church
After he was deported a second time, Mauricio “Moe” Higareda and his family — who are U.S. citizens — decided to rebuild their lives in Tijuana. In addition to starting a new home, Pastor Moe and his family started the first English-language Victory Outreach Church in Mexico, aimed at serving deportees.
A Daughter Left Behind
Destinee Arce was separated from her father, Jose Arce, when he was deported while she was just a child. Jose, also known as Spanky, resettled in Tijuana, where he owns a tattoo parlor. Destinee is now in college and hopes to become a kindergarten teacher and a makeup artist. Although the two are separated, they speak often and stay connected through their mutual love of art.