Cezanne Lyte: June 2011

Volunteer with citizenship now

Cezanne Jones Cyzaane Lyte first volunteered with the Corps in 2010.

Q.  Which aspect(s) of our events do you find particularly enjoyable?
A.  "I really enjoy helping individuals and families make the transition from green card holders to citizens of the United States. Everyone's case is different, but there is no greater reward than being appreciated by the applicants for the free service given.  At many other organizations, a fee would be charged for the same service that we provide. Networking with so many people of different cultures is another highlight of the events offered."

Q.  Do you feel that your knowledge and relationship to the immigrant community and the challenges it faces has improved because of the Volunteer Corps? If so, in what way?
"Although I was knowledgeable in some regards (immigration is such a complex subject matter), my knowledge has definitely improved. CUNY Citizenship Now! provides us with many learning opportunities through the monthly webinars, application assistance events, and most recently the annual Daily News Call-In training. As volunteers, these opportunities allow us to stay abreast on the information. This organization is truly dedicated not only to its participants, but also to its volunteers, making sure both are equipped with updated information concerning immigration."

Q.  Tell us about yourself--do either you or a family member have a personal immigration story?
"Both my family members and I are immigrants originally from Guyana, the only English speaking country in South America. Like most immigrants, we arrived in the United States hoping to fulfill our American Dream. I was on a student visa for most of my years, [and] being in this situation was no easy task, since the tuition is double that of residents. Financing a college education without assistance is challenging. However, with perseverance and dedication, I was able to obtain a B.A in Industrial Psychology from Baruch College. I love helping others whether they are strangers, family, or friends in any way I can. I am very passionate about the immigrant community because I truly understand the struggles and challenges they face. It’s my encouragement to those fighting the fight to never give up, never give in, and stand firm. It might take months or even years, but be of good courage and keep pressing."

Q.  What does community mean for you?
"Community is a place or group of people with a common interest or bond and is the driving force behind one’s actions. Citizenship Now! is a community, and the driving force is immigrants’ needs."

Q.  What is your favorite hobby/interest outside of volunteering?
"I love traveling, seeing new places, and learning about new cultures.  Living in New York City allows one to take advantage of this cultural opportunity.