Carla Rabinowitz: February 2012

Volunteer with citizenship now

Carla Rabinowitz Carla Rabinowitz has been a Volunteer Corps Member since January of 2011.

Q.  What is your favorite part about our Saturday events?
"Definitely the people. The staff are amazingly kind and supportive. The participants are generally very thankful, even if you have to turn them away."

Q.  Why did you choose to volunteer with CUNY Citizenship Now?
  "I was suspended when I became mentally ill, 14 years ago, and subsequently worked hard to get my license back. I went to law school to help people, and volunteering at CUNY Citizenship Now is a good fit for me."

Q.  If you’re from New York, in which neighborhood did you grow up?
"Washington Heights"

Q. What’s one of your most memorable moments as a volunteer with Citizenship Now?
"One person I helped was an elderly lady who travelled in and out of the country quite a bit. She was annoyed at having to write down all the trips abroad and almost gave up. However, we got through it together and she completed her citizenship application."

Q.  What does community mean for you?
"Community means being with other people you feel comfortable with. For instance, at the non-profit where I work, Community Access, I really feel at home with other mental health recipients and I think most feel at home with me."

Q.  Has your knowledge of immigration law improved because of the time you have spent volunteering with us? What have you learned?  
"Yes. I've learned a great deal. For example, I now know that an applicant who has had any experience with the police, even a turnstile jumping ticket, needs a certificate of disposition."

Q.  Tell us about yourself--do either you or a family member have a personal immigration story?
"My grandparents all came here from other countries, before the holocaust. The two from Europe were the only ones left from their family after the holocaust."

Q.  In what ways has volunteering with Citizenship Now! impacted you personally?
"CUNY Citizenship Now allows me to help people in a very direct way. And that's something that compliments the work I do during the week. I work as a community organizer at Community Access- organizing mental health recipients and community access tenants."

Q.  Outside of work and volunteering, tell us about some special hobbies or interests that you have?
"I'm a big movie lover- so much that I help facilitate an annual New York City mental health movie festival that is run jointly by Community Access and a mental health rights organization, NYAPRS. Once a year we show an entire day of films that depict mental health recipients in a positive light. "