Bridging Worlds: Interview with CIANA Volunteer Tutor, Hannah

Photo by Maria Eliades

Why do you tutor at CIANA?

I really love working with the kids. They’re really fun. It makes me feel closer to the Astoria community. I think it’s really easy for the different groups to remain in our bubbles and not interact with each other. I appreciate that CIANA brings a lot of people together and brings us into the kids’ lives to support them and helps them do better in school.

How long have you been tutoring at CIANA?

This is my third year at CIANA.

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

I think one of the really nice things that it does is provide them with an adult who is paying attention just to them. So they get that personalize support. They don’t always get that in classes and it’s hard to get that at home when it comes to schoolwork. Here the students have someone who can answer their questions to make them feel heard and valued and encouraged.

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

It’s really easy for people to come to the United States and get lost in the system. There are so many different systems that people need to navigate. There’s also often a language barrier, and so having a community center like this where people can have someone hold their hand and walk them through makes them feel not only better equipped to navigate those systems, but also that someone is looking out for them.

CIANA shows that people want them to be here, want them to succeed, and gives them the tools to do that. I think just coming to this country and feeling that you’re wanted and that there are people who want to help you goes a long way.