Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer with citizenship now

Each month we will highlight one of our outstanding volunteers. Below you will find the current Volunteer of the month as well as a list of volunteers who we have profiled in the past. Click on the photos to read more about them.



James Howard James Howard: Volunteer Corps Member


Q.  Tell us about yourself--do either you or a family member have a personal immigration story?
A.  "I am the youngest of five children who was raised in a single parent household. I am originally from Guyana. I immigrated to the United States in 2001. My eldest brother and sister were born in the United States, but my two other siblings were also born in Guyana."

Q. How many times have you volunteered at our events? And what makes you keep coming back?
A.  "I began volunteering in February 2013 and have volunteered several times since. I have also volunteered for the Call-in event in 2013 and 2014. I keep volunteering with this organization because I see the positive impact volunteers have on participants’ lives on their journey to become U.S. citizens. In 2007 I became a U.S. citizen, so I know first-hand how challenging and frustrating the naturalization process can be. My reward for volunteering is that I know my work is impactful. I am committed to helping others and this opportunity provides me a medium to help my fellow New Yorkers attain their citizenship."

Q. What’s one of your most memorable moments as a volunteer with Citizenship Now? And why?
A.  "I assisted a participant who was a legal permanent resident since the 1960s. That was the first time I saw and held a green “green card.” I was surprised to see the green card did not have an expiration date and it was still valid. I was also amazed at the simple appearance of the green card when compared to the current “green card” issued today."

Q. What does community mean for you?
A.  "Community is a place where you and other members have something in common, a shared interest. Community is a place where you are known and actively participate in to improve your life and the lives of others."

Q. In what way(s) has volunteering with Citizenship Now! impacted you personally?
A.  "I have always wanted to learn a second language and volunteering with CUNY Citizenship Now! has motivated me to learn Spanish."

Q. What is your favorite borough to volunteer at? 
A.  "Queens is the borough I have lived in since I immigrated to the United States, so I am naturally biased. Also, volunteering in Queens allows me to travel to the event site quickly with limited train service disruptions."

Q. What are you looking forward to at the next event? 
A.  "I look forward to traveling to a neighborhood in New York City that I have never visited before to attend an event. I enjoy interacting with my fellow volunteers and CUNY Citizenship Now! staff and look forward to assisting additional participants with their citizenship applications."

Q. Why do you volunteer with the NYC/CUNY Citizenship Now! Volunteer Corps? 
A.  "I volunteer with CUNY Citizenship Now! because of its stellar reputation and its commitment to providing free services to immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship. Additionally, volunteering with CUNY Citizenship Now! allows me to give back to my community each time I attend one of their application assistance events."

Q. Has your knowledge of immigration law improved because of the time you have spent volunteering with us? What have you learned?
A.  "Yes. I have attended training sessions for screening, checkout, fee waiver and the call-in, which have enhanced my knowledge of Immigration Law. I certainly did not know that some subway tickets issued by an MTA police could be an issue for someone applying for citizenship. I also learned what the criteria are to qualify for a fee waiver when applying for citizenship. I wish I knew about the fee waiver when I applied for my citizenship in 2007 when I attended law school. I would’ve had an extra $595 in the bank today."

Q. What do you enjoy most at our events?
A.  "I enjoy meeting the participants at our events and hearing their immigrant stories about why they moved to the United States. I also enjoy learning about the various cultures of the participants who attend our events. New York is so ethnically diverse that I have met many people from around the world."

Q. What is your favorite section of the volunteer newsletter “Citizenship Now! Monthly” and/or volunteer website?
A.  "I read the entire newsletter every month, but I particularly enjoy reading the profiles of the volunteer of the month."

Q. Outside of work and volunteering, tell us about some special hobbies or interests that you have?
A.  "I read the New York Times, The Economist and Time magazine to be up-to-date with national and international news. I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so I frequent the gym to stay in shape. I also enjoy traveling, lawn tennis and kayaking in Rhone Island with my brother-in-law. I watch a lot of documentaries and I follow politics very closely."

Volunteer Profiles

Kathleen Tonkovich

Kathleen Tonkovich
June 2014

Olu Ajayi

Olu Ajayi
May 2014

Geovanni Gutierrez

Geovanni Gutierrez 
March 2014

Sonia Mills

Sonia Mills 
February 2014

Ann Marie McNamee

Ann Marie McNamee 
January 2014

2013 Volunteer Profiles >>

Shaunee Morgan

Shaunee Morgan
December 2013

Rafael Tassy

Rafael Tassy
November 2013

Camissa Celestin

Camissa Celestin
October 2013

Melina Lito

Melina Lito
September 2013

Angela Cooper

Angela Cooper
August 2013

Aydee Joya

Aydee Joya
July 2013

Sanya Paul

Sanya Paul
June 2013

Sainslot Belizaire

Sainslot Belizaire
May 2013

Bosondo Braun

Bosondo Braun
April 2013

Tomas Escotto

Tomas Escotto
March 2013

Jesus Guzman

Jesus Guzman
February 2013

Nubia Espana

Nubia Espana
January 2013

2012 Volunteer Profiles >>

Fanny Lauby

Fanny Lauby
December 2012

Celeste Tejeda

Celeste Tejeda
November 2012

Dea Shkupi

Dea Shkupi
October 2012

Darrion Maye

Darrion Maye
September 2012

Ana Davila

Ana Davila
August 2012

Camilo Aparicio

Camilo Aparicio
July 2012

Yiu Fai Chu

Yiu Fai Chu
June 2012

Lyson Bazile

Lyson Bazile
May 2012

Elizabeth Aviles

Elizabeth Aviles
April 2012

Diana Arreaga

Diana Arreaga
March 2012

Carla Rabinowitz

Carla Rabinowitz
February 2012

Johanna Bonny

Johanna Bonny
January 2012

2011 Volunteer Profiles >>

Karin Wolman

Karin Wolman
December 2011

Mimo

Mimo Boulefrekh
November 2011

Karl Gluck

Karl Gluck
October 2011

Bashkim Musabelliu

Bashkim Musabelliu
September 2011

Mabel Bajer

Mabel Bejar
August 2011
Currently Staff Member at Citizenship Now!

Thomas Marsh

Thomas Marsh
July 2011

Cezanne Jones

Cezanne Lyte
June 2011

venus

Venus Bernudez
May 2011

jorge

Jorge Rodriguez
April 2011