Bringing the Astoria Community Together: Interview with CIANA Volunteer Tutor, Erin

Photo by Maria Eliades

Why do you tutor at CIANA?

I work from home, so I was looking for something that I can do that’s social and was also helping people. I found out about CIANA from two other volunteers who have been here for a year or two.

I love all the kids. They’re really great, and I am always excited to tell my friends and other people about fun things that I do with these kids.

I work as a freelance copyeditor generally for humanities textbooks, and some education books, so I try to bring things that I learn from that to the program.

How long have you been tutoring at CIANA?

I started in September, so when the program ends next week for summer break, it’ll have been one school year.

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

I know when I was in elementary school sometimes it was difficult for me to sit down and focus, so I think having a tutor sitting here to say, one do your work, and two, to help through any issues as much as you can –I think it keeps them focused and sometimes give them a new perspective or makes them thinks it’s more fun than if they were sitting and doing it alone.

My mom was a librarian growing up, so I always liked the days where I could crowdsource the answers to my homework. It sounded more fun than sitting alone doing my work.

Why do you think CIANA is an important part of integrating new Americans into New York City and the United States?

There are so many kids from different backgrounds here that are all sharing a similar experience. Their parents are immigrants but they have different backgrounds within that, so it’s good to have them all together.

It’s also nice to have this as a part of the Astoria community, because Astoria is so varied in the types of people that live here. So it’s really cool to have this place to come to that’s really accessible that also has this really great bringing-everyone-together feel to it.

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