Experiencing More of My New Hometown

By Haley Semian, American University Student

AU freshmen helped clean and beautify CARECEN’s classrooms!

Hello! My name is Haley Semian and I am an incoming freshman at American University. During my summer program at the school (STEP) I had the opportunity to work with CARECEN for a day. Part of their mission is facilitating engagement with the local community, including American University students, which helps us gain a much better understanding of the DC immigrant community.

Here at CARECEN I learned what services they offered and what it was like for the people they help. One of the biggest reasons I am grateful to have had the chance to volunteer at CARECEN is that I became aware of how influential this organization is. For a lot of people coming to the United States as an immigrant it is difficult for them to obtain citizenship. Not only is can be a lengthy process, but requires them to know information that even some US born individuals do not know. CARECEN really gives people a chance for a better life by assisting them with classes on English, facts about the US, and even mock interviews so people do not become nervous the first time they have that experience. Gaining citizenship allows for integration and a better life here in this country and I really appreciate the work CARECEN does for their community.

During their day of service, AU students helped put up new dry-erase boards, adding functionality to CARECEN’s citizenship classrooms.

When I came to volunteer I organized and cleaned the classrooms for the students. My group helped put up new white boards and cork boards around the rooms. We also updated the computer software and got them ready for the students to use, making it easier for them to navigate the resources they need for their citizenship tests. Even though we did small tasks, we took work off the hands of a very busy place.

Along the way in my volunteering I learned of a place that has a big influence in people’s lives. CARECEN is an organization that I would most likely appreciate working for again. 

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