Thank You to Our Volunteers Who Go Above and Beyond
CAIR Coalition is fortunate to have an incredible team of volunteers who support our work. Last week, CAIR Coalition was given very little notice about the release of a client who had been granted asylum after being held in immigration custody for more than 7 months. Because this client lacked the familial or community support to assist with transportation, we desperately needed volunteers to assist in transporting the client from the detention facility to shelter in Northern Virginia. We reached out to our powerful network of volunteers with an urgent cry for help, and two volunteers, Leslie Hunter and Itzel Sclopis, stepped up in the most admirable way.
On a Wednesday afternoon and with less than 12 hours’ notice, the volunteers drove 4 hours to the immigration detention center in rural Virginia. Due to bureaucratic miscommunications, the client was released 6 hours later than originally scheduled. And yet, these volunteers waited patiently for those 6 hours without compliant.
At 7:00 pm on a Wednesday evening, our client walked out the door of the immigration detention center to find our volunteers waiting for him, shouting cheers of joy and congratulations. They had never met before and yet the bond that formed between them was immediate. Instead of driving our client straight home, the volunteers took him out for a celebratory dinner at a fancy steakhouse – his first meal outside of immigration detention in more than 7 months. When the waiter asked what they were celebrating, they responded, “A birthday!” This made the evening even more special for our client.
At 11:30 pm, these volunteers finally got the client to safe shelter before heading to their own homes. Altogether, Leslie and Itzel dedicated their entire Wednesday to assist a man who they had never met, but who needed their help. They kept a positive attitude in spite of the long drive and the bureaucratic setbacks. They provided so much more than transportation for our client – they provided him with new friendships and a memorable evening that will always be meaningful to him.
We are so incredibly grateful for our powerful network of volunteers, and this is one of the many ways in which our volunteers are superheroes to us and to our clients. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, please click here to get started: https://www.caircoalition.org/how-to-help/volunteering