Achutha Raman is a community volunteer that has volunteered with Project Citizenship Since 2017. He described his experience, saying, “Over the last year, I’ve volunteered at several of the citizenship clinics and every time it has been inspiring. I’ve worked with applicants young, middle-aged, and old, from Haiti, Brazil, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, and more. Each has his or her own remarkable story. Many have persevered through difficult circumstances and all have a strong passion to continue forging their paths as American citizens.The citizenship process is not exactly an easy one and the paperwork as well as interview/exam can be intimidating. Hence, the work that organizations like Project Citizenship and its partners do in easing that complexity via structure and explanation is an invaluable one. It benefits the applicants and fundamentally helps bolster the fabric of our society. America has always primarily been a nation of immigrants, and I believe it thrives on diversity. From the Bill of Rights to Civil Rights, our richest societal developments come from appreciating and respecting our diversity of backgrounds and beliefs. I’m happy to help enrich our country by making it a more inclusive place, and hope more volunteers will also continue to do so!”
Sara Mailander is an associate at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP who often volunteers with Project Citizenship at our workshops outside of Boston. She assists with quality control both in English and Spanish. She described her motivation to volunteer at citizenship clinics, saying,”Obtaining U.S. citizenship is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of the U.S. immigration system. Becoming a U.S. citizen formalizes an individual’s long-standing decision to call the U.S. ‘home,’ and it makes them a permanent, voting member of our society. This is the most effective way to ensure that someone living in the U.S. is empowered to use their voice to influence the direction of our country – politically, socially, or otherwise. It is extremely gratifying and humbling to be a part of this process.”
Nadia Gay is the mother of Project Citizenship’s board member, Bianca Gay. She works for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. She volunteered at Citizenship Day in Boston 2016 as a Haitian-Creole interpreter. About volunteering, she says, “What I do for Project Citizenship, I do because I am passionate about the cause, I don’t do it to be rewarded. Seeing the joy in the faces of the applicants and the reason why they want to become a citizen, are my reward.”
Joel Lehrer is a partner at Goodwin who volunteers with Project Citizenship as a pro bono attorney. He told us about his volunteering experience, saying, “I decided to participate in Citizenship Day after hearing from my colleagues about how just a few hours’ time can make a huge difference in the lives of those looking to become citizens. I often think about what it must have been like for my grandparents to arrive in this country, and what a struggle it must have been to fully integrate themselves into the fabric of American life. All I was looking to do was make the process easier and provide some encouragement along the way. Instead, it was those seeking citizenship that encouraged me and renewed my faith in people. The energy and excitement that Project Citizenship brought to the event was infectious, and I can’t wait to volunteer again.”
Abe is an undergraduate student at Boston College with an interest in immigration policy. He volunteer most recently at Citizenship Day in Boston 2016. He told us, “I volunteer with Project Citizenship because I love living in the US, and I know it should be a lot easier for people to have a life here if they want it. Legal stuff is usually long and complicated, and if we can help make the process to citizenship easier we should.”
Meet more of our former volunteers in the archives!