Gender Pronouns: She/her
What brought you to AAANY? I came to AAANY in January 2018. In 2017, I spent several months in Europe, during which time I had planned to volunteer to support refugees. Unfortunately, I fell very ill and was unable to volunteer. This was discouraging, but it made me realize that it isn’t just people in extreme situations who need support. I could volunteer to support immigrants when I returned to Brooklyn, in a more sustainable, less intensive way.
What specific work do you do as a volunteer? I tutor people preparing for their citizenship interviews.
What is your connection to the Arab Community and/or Immigration? I live in Bay Ridge, where AAANY is based. Through volunteering at AAANY, I meet and support people of my direct community and nearby communities, who I most likely would not otherwise meet. My family has Arab ancestry, but aside from knowledge of this ancestry, we have lost connection to this heritage. My husband became a naturalized citizen several years ago. Being by his side throughout his journey toward citizenship was impactful, and celebrating his becoming a citizen was very moving.
What is your school/work Background? I graduated from Pratt Institute, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I worked at an arts-education nonprofit for several years, and then worked in set building/design for print and television advertising for the past 7 years. I recently became certified to teach English to speakers of other languages, and plan to transition full-time into this work..
Do your background skills help in your service as a volunteer? No, my background skills are quite unrelated to my volunteer service!
What is one thing you hope to get out of your volunteer service with AAANY ? I want to support people as best I can, and be receptive and accommodating to the unique needs of each client.
Greatest challenge as an AAANY volunteer? My greatest challenge as an AAANY volunteer is not having any knowledge of Arabic. There have been a few occasions where I was unable to answer a client’s questions or have effective communication because because I cannot speak or understand any Arabic.
Favorite moment as a volunteer at AAANY? I do not have a single favorite moment- there have been so many lovely moments. It makes me truly happy when a client calls or visits to tell us that his/her citizenship interview was successful and he/she is now a US citizen. It warms my heart to witness and share their joy and pride!
Do you see yourself volunteering long-term? Yes! Working with clients and witnessing their hard work and progress as they prepare for their interviews are gratifying and inspiring.
Does your service correspond with career aspirations? I do not have set career aspirations, but volunteering at AAANY showed me that service work is what inspires me and is what I want to be doing. I am so grateful for this organization, the incredibly kind people who work there, and the genuinely good work they do to support the community.