Not Just a Quiet Advocate: Interview with CIANA Volunteer Tutor, Jeremy
Photo by Maria Eliades
Why do you tutor at CIANA?
My wife and I, Hannah, live in Astoria, and we think it’s important that if we’re going to live here, to be full members of the community. That means engaging with the diversity of it.
Most of the kids live nearby. I see them at the United Brothers Fruit Markets regularly. So it’s a good way to give back to the community.
How long have you been tutoring at CIANA?
My marker is the week after the 2016 election, so I’ve been here from the 15th of November 2016. It became ever more important after the election to support new and recent immigrants, not just in a way of being a quiet advocate but an outward ally.
What do you think the Elementary After School Program does for the kids who come here?
A lot of the students have trouble doing their homework, because they might live in a home with limited access to technology or their parents, as well-wishing as they are might not have the comprehension to help them, especially as they get to the older grades. It’s important to have that supportive network as they’re trying to progress in their studies.
On days like today, which might not be the most productive academic days, it’s important that the students have an after school place for a few hours so that their parents can do what they need to do and so that they’re in a safe and positive environment.
Why do you think CIANA is an important part of integrating new Americans into New York City and the United States?
In a place like Queens where it’s so diverse, people might think that, ‘Oh it’s a melting pot. They’ll just get integrated on their own.’
But it’s a difficult adjustment in many ways, and a hard system to navigate as far as education, housing, support, and residency –and all of the rights that come along with coming into a country. Having an organization that helps the parents and the students navigate that system in a formal way makes the transition easier.