This month’s Ambassadors of the Month are the six individuals (pictured left to right) who supported InStepp’s Cycle 6 Citizenship Instruction classes that ended on October 26th : Joe Tetzlaff, Karen Salina, Pooja Iyer, Alice Holt-Clash, Jacqueline Lauer and Nicholas Roberts (not pictured). Below we profile three of these volunteers.
Alice Holt-Clash grew up in Harwood, Maryland and is a divorced mother of one daughter and four grown sons. Her educational background includes Hampton University School of Nursing and the United States Army. Currently retired, she previously spent time as a Medical Education Consultant and a Chief Trainer for the Educational Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates. When not volunteering, she enjoys participating in hobbies such as reading and gardening. She also likes to spend time with her granddaughter.
A volunteer since August, Holt-Clash became involved with InStepp to feel useful and occupy her time since moving to Raleigh. She has found the determination of those in the class to become citizens inspiring. Furthermore, she feels the volunteer experience has affected her in that she sees the privilege that Americans sometimes take for granted. Ultimately, Holt-Clash has enjoyed helping with the citizenship classes and hopes to repeat this experience again. She is also interested in volunteering in other ways that she might be needed in the future.
Nick Roberts is an Environmental Science major at North Carolina State and will graduate in the summer of 2018. He has one sister and currently lives in Raleigh, NC. Along with volunteering for InStepp, he also does volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball and is trying to learn how to play the piano.
Roberts became a volunteer at InStepp because he wanted a volunteer opportunity where he could speak Spanish. Overall, his experience with the Citizenship Preparation class has helped him to see immigration in less abstract terms. He enjoys seeing the progress toward citizenship as a result of the program.
Pooja Iyer is a statistician who graduated from the University of North Carolina this year. She grew up in Charlotte, NC with her parents and younger sister and currently lives in Durham, NC. However, a majority of her large extended family still lives in India.
In general, she has volunteered in the past and has worked on many different projects as a volunteer. Overall, the opportunities that she has enjoyed the most have allowed her to use and improve her Spanish-speaking skills. In her spare time, she enjoys being outside and watching all of the Oscar-nominated movies every year. Recently, she has been spending time by training for a half-marathon.
Similar to Clash and Roberts, Iyer began volunteering for InStepp in August with the extent of their experience currently being in the Citizenship Preparation classes. She credits her passion for immigration causes to her parents emigrating from India in 1990 and 1992, respectively. She remembers both of her parents studying and taking their citizenship exam as well as getting sworn in as citizens. The volunteer experience has impacted her in that she has seen how difficult the U.S. naturalization process can be. Similarly, it has made her aware of how much she has taken it for granted. She has enjoyed the experience, feeling lucky to be a part of someone’s story. She encourages future volunteers to be involved as well as be friendly. Most importantly, she urges them to encourage others.