Elizabeth Aviles: April 2012

Volunteer with citizenship now

Elizabeth Aviles An interview with Elizabeth Aviles, Citizenship Now! Volunteer Corps member.

Q.  What is your favorite part about our Saturday events?
"Getting to know the many volunteers and professionals that take their time to help other people. I also enjoy being able to help people fill out their citizenship applications and being able to translate to Spanish."

Q.  Why did you choose to volunteer with CUNY Citizenship Now?
  "I want to learn more about immigration and about people who come from various cultural backgrounds. I also want to learn about the experiences and struggles people go through to become part of a community and be treated equally. "

Q. What’s one of your most memorable moments as a volunteer with Citizenship Now?
"There are a lot of memorable moments. Mostly I like to see people who are not sure about how to fill their Citizenship applications, and how they appreciate having someone there to help them. It makes them feel more confident especially when someone is able to speak to them in their own language."

Q.  If you’re from New York, in which neighborhood did you grow up?
"I was born in Ecuador, but I was raised in Queens."

Q.  Has your knowledge of immigration law improved because of the time you have spent volunteering with us? What have you learned?  
"Yes, my knowledge has improved a lot. When I first started volunteering with CUNY Citizenship Now! I didn't know anything about immigration law. Since then I have learned how to complete the entire N-400 form and in time I hope to learn more about the fee waiver application."

Q.  Tell us about yourself--do either you or a family member have a personal immigration story?
"When I came to New York I was a child, but still it was hard for me to adapt to a new world, different surroundings and many different cultures."

Q.  In what ways has volunteering with Citizenship Now! impacted you personally?
"It helped me realize that just by helping, I can make a big difference."

Q.  Outside of work and volunteering, tell us about some special hobbies or interests that you have?
"Besides volunteering, my hobbies are drawing, painting and reading."