Diana Arreaga: March 2012

Volunteer with citizenship now

Diana Arreaga Diana Arreaga is a Citizenship Now! Volunteer Corps member attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Q.  What is your favorite part about our Saturday events?
"I enjoy conversing with the people that ask for my help. The laughs we share makes the whole 10 page application process worth while. I prefer going to these events than staying home."

Q.  Why did you choose to volunteer with CUNY Citizenship Now?
  "I enjoy helping those in need. I have always taken an interest in immigration and the look on the faces of those people when their N-400 application is near completion brings a smile to my face. I see this as an opportunity in my city to help those in need."

Q.  If you’re from New York, in which neighborhood did you grow up?
"I grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn up until the age of seven when I moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn and have been living there ever since."

Q. What’s one of your most memorable moments as a volunteer with Citizenship Now?
"I would have to say my most memorable moment would have to be the first time I volunteered for Citizenship Now at Hunter College. It was a hectic time, but in the end the whole event ran smoothly and because of the friendships I made that day, I will carry on."

Q.  What does community mean for you?
"Community to me signifies a group of people that look out for each other and lend a helping hand to those in need. When an opportunity is taken to help and work for the better of others, then a community has reached is true meaning."

Q.  Has your knowledge of immigration law improved because of the time you have spent volunteering with us? What have you learned?  
"My knowledge in immigration law has greatly expanded. I worked with an immigration attorney for some time and I learned the application process for green cards, but not for the citizenship application itself. I was able to gain an understanding of the qualifications for the N-400 fee waiver and how to fill out the N-400 application."

Q.  Tell us about yourself--do either you or a family member have a personal immigration story?
"While others my age were either playing in the park or planning out activities with friends, I was on the path to realizing my calling to be an immigration lawyer. It was at the age of 12 that I began to gain an interest in immigration, when I was asked to help an immigration attorney, in his office. Listening to the experiences of immigrants increased my passion to help them out and ever since then, I have had a passion for immigration law. Six years later, at the age of 18, I still have the drive to be an immigration lawyer and will continue to pursue my dream."

Q.  In what ways has volunteering with Citizenship Now! impacted you personally?
"Citizenship Now! has come to be another home for me. After meeting such wonderful people, I feel like it is another place where I can gain a greater understanding of the immigration process while still having fun."

Q.  Outside of work and volunteering, tell us about some special hobbies or interests that you have?
"I enjoy reading about law school and doing programs that increase my understanding of the commitment I need to make in order to become a lawyer. I also enjoy volunteering in my church youth group and spending time with my friends."