• Maria Eliades

A Leader Guiding New Americans: Interview with CIANA Volunteer Tutor Coordinator, Mulan


Photo by Maria Eliades

Why do you tutor at CIANA?

I tutor, but I also coordinate the tutoring program. I do it because the community of the students and the parents is pretty inspiring. I feel like none of the children probably need it in the sense that they’re all relatively hard working and committed to school. The reality is that their parents who are recent immigrants just want to make sure that they fit in and do well in American society.

I do it for that and I do it because the current political climate makes you want to help recent immigrants. This program shows you that these people are all committed to becoming good Americans.

How long have you been tutoring at CIANA?

About two, two and a half years. I started tutoring ESL, and then moved over to the After School Program. Someone else was coordinating when I first started, but then I started doing it.

What do you do professionally?

I’m an attorney. I was an attorney at the UN and when I had kids I stopped working. Now I’m on the boards of other NGOs, I do French-to-English and English-to-French translations, political asylum cases, and I volunteer.

What do you think the Elementary After School Program does for the kids who come here?

I’m struck by the fact that the kids all love coming. I think they appreciate the multicultural aspect of the program and the one-on-one attention so that they can work individually on problems if they have them.

More importantly, I feel that because they associate learning with something so fun that that will enhance their education generally. This is an educational setting, but a different one from school. I feel that if you can enhance their desire to learn things, then that will enhance their learning across the board.

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