Geovanni Gutierrez: March 2014
Q. Tell us about yourself--do either you or a family member have a personal immigration story?
A. "I am an immigrant. My family and I came to the United States six years ago in search of better opportunities. We had to face the great difficulty of getting used to a new language and trying to have a lawful life. It was a long process but thanks to the help of non-profit organizations, like CUNY Citizenship Now!, I was able to get closer to my goals of going to college."
Q. How many times have you volunteered at our events? And what makes you keep coming back?
A. "I recently started to volunteer at the events and so far I have attended three events and two trainings on filling out both the old and new version of the N-400 application. I feel great knowing that I am helping people change their lives into a new positive direction and that's what inspires me to keep coming. I enjoy helping people reach their goals and make it a less stressful process."
Q. What’s one of your most memorable moments as a volunteer with Citizenship Now? And why?
A. "One of my most memorable moments as a volunteer is when I see the smile and relief on the participants' faces after a long process of filling the N-400 form. With a sincere smile and strong shake of hands they show me that I am being helpful and that means they recognize my effort and desire to help them."
Q. What is your favorite borough to volunteer at? And why?
A. "Queens, because it’s more accessible for me but I am fine going to Manhattan, since it's really easy to commute. I also have no problem going to Brooklyn, but the Bronx is just too far."
Q. Why do you volunteer with the NYC/CUNY Citizenship Now! Volunteer Corps?
A. "Volunteering with CUNY Citizenship Now! helps me to learn more about the actual work in the field of immigration law, especially because I am really interested in it. It allows me to help others with a process that is complicated, long, confusing and stressful. I see it as a way to start building the basics of my educational goals which is to become a lawyer to help immigrants and minority groups."
Q. What do you enjoy most at our events?
A. "I love how the events are organized and the warm environment that each volunteer creates with their time and dedication. The participants and the volunteers are treated well by the organizers and that simply makes me want to keep coming to the events and keep helping others."
Q. What are you looking forward to at the next event?
A. "I am looking forward to see more people coming together to help others with a smile and patience, ready to spend as much time as needed with each of the participants. I look forward to see more participants trusting us to help them with their naturalization process even when it is a really personal process."
Q. In what way(s) has volunteering with Citizenship Now! impacted you personally?
A. "Volunteering with Citizenship Now! has really impacted the way I view non-profit organizations. I am more interested in immigration law and I have grown to love this field. My experiences at the events are shaping my skills, my confidence and my ability to impact people's lives with my dedication."
Q. Outside of work and volunteering, tell us about some special hobbies or interests that you have?
A. "As an English major I like to read and challenge myself with the language because I am still learning English and that's the only way I can get better and succeed in college. In my free time I also help out at an organization called Street Vendors Project in lower Manhattan, where I gain more knowledge in the field of law and help others."
Q. Has your knowledge of immigration law improved because of the time you have spent volunteering with us? What have you learned?
A. "Since volunteering with CUNY Citizenship Now my knowledge of immigration law has really improved. The practice of filling out the application and the short but informative conversations with lawyers and professionals have helped build my knowledge and skills. The experience has furthered my interest in immigration law news and in following what politicians do about it. I am more involved in society and I understand now that I can play an important role."
Q. What is your favorite section of the volunteer newsletter “Citizenship Now! Monthly” and/or volunteer website?
A. "I have two favorite sections in the volunteer newsletter. They are the mark your calendars and the bulletin board section, because both sections are really helpful to me in preparing for events."
Q. What does community mean for you?
A. "To me community means people working together for the greater good to have equality and a decent quality of life for every person in the community no matter their background. Community should be strong and open to new ideas which can only lead to a better society."