Since Rozina Zeidan first joined the CIANA family in early 2019, she has interned and volunteered in our Civics, Communications, Elementary Tutoring, and Case Management programs. Her extensive experience working with CIANA's immigrant clients in so many ways has had a tremendous impact on her personal and professional development, which she elaborates on here.
How long have you been volunteering/interning at CIANA and why did you decide to get involved here?
I’ve been volunteering with CIANA since February 2019. I found out about CIANA through a Facebook post of someone asking for organizations they can get involved with that serve immigrants. Someone commented on that post to look into CIANA.
I had worked with immigrants for almost 2 years the year prior to my time at CIANA, at another non-profit in Brooklyn and enjoyed my experience. When I looked into CIANA, I saw that you guys are based in Queens, so I figured it'd be great to help a different community. Additionally, CIANA's mission in equipping immigrants with the tools they can use to better their lives in the U.S. stood out to me and I knew I wanted to be a part of that process, so I sent in an application to volunteer with CIANA!
How did your initial experience at CIANA match up with your expectations?
At the previous non-profit I volunteered at, I tutored civics to prepare immigrants for their naturalization interview and thought I could get the chance to do the same at CIANA. However, due to a scheduling conflict, I wasn’t able to do so, but I still wanted to get involved with CIANA. The former Director of Communications and Development said she needed assistance with media and communications work and asked if I’d be interested to get on board with that. I said yes because it was something new and I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about advocacy from a digital perspective.
I didn’t have any sort of expectation when it came to organizing work online since it was new for me, but it was a refreshing experience in that I learned A WHOLE LOT about many things, from the logistics in creating eye-catching content and tweets to writing articles in a specific way (short, sweet, to the point), to learning how to reach out to various media figures to advertise our fundraisers, events, and campaigns.
It was awesome to do behind-the-scenes work for CIANA this past year, but I missed working directly with folks and wanted to get back into that. I recently transitioned to casework and tutoring in February and have since loved my experience. I have always loved being able to work hands-on with people, so working in case management and tutoring has just reinforced my passion for helping others, while also getting to learn about new field areas.
What kinds of previous experience do you have in working with immigrants?
As mentioned before, I was involved with another non-profit for a good two years. There, I was an advocacy intern for 6 months, where I learned the ropes of organizing, advocacy, and campaigning for Arab and Muslim immigrants in NYC. Following that, I tutored civics for about a year and a half teaching folks American history and helping them pass their citizenship interview. While tutoring, I learned a lot about the citizenship process an