Volunteers of the Month: Christian Garcia and Anneliese Hermann
The New American Pathways’ Immigration Services team plays a vital role in the resettlement process, and it takes all hands on deck to make sure everything gets done. This summer, immigration interns Anneliese Hermann and Christian Garcia have worked diligently to help keep things running smoothly.
“The amount of work that needs to be done requires a lot of people,” Christian reflected. “The demand that the immigration office faces is so high. Two people could not handle it. There’s so much that goes into a single application.”
Nodding in agreement, Anneliese added, “it’s a really long process and we sort of work at every step, from meeting and interviewing the clients and making sure that they have information… to calling and verifying that they actually received their document in the mail.”
Anneliese and Christian work closely together, helping clients fill out forms, translating documents into English and managing the many files of client information stacked in their office. The work can be overwhelming sometimes, but the pair use each other’s strengths to make sure everything gets done.
“It’s been good working together,” said Annaliese. “There’s no way either of us could be as effective alone. It’s nice to have different experiences and different perspectives.”
Growing up, both Christian and Annaliese had their own distinct experiences with new Americans.
“I’m really comfortable with populations from all parts of the world,” explained Christian. “The part I grew up in Southern California is very Hispanic, but ten minutes later it’s Indian then it’s Korean. So, coming here, in the waiting room you hear a dozen different languages being spoken and that just did not feel strange at all— it was kind of welcoming.”
Anneliese’s passion for refugee resettlement and immigration goes back to her childhood. “I was first involved with immigration and refugee resettlement as a high schooler because my family volunteered with Lutheran Refugee Services and Lutheran Services of Georgia and so we did some work with refugee resettlement there.”
“It sort of acquainted me with some of the issues that refugees face, which I had been fortunate enough to not really have to think about much before,” she added. “It really got me thinking about the incredible difficulty of leaving everything behind and coming to a new place and completely rebuilding your life, and I just wanted to help with that.”
Currently pursuing her Masters of Public Administration at the University of Georgia, Annaliese hopes to work in the field of resettlement and immigration long term. “To me, I don’t think there’s too much of a higher calling than helping someone escape a war zone. I just want to be involved in that, I guess.”
Christian, who is currently studying physics at Emory University, hopes to apply the skills he learns at New American Pathways to the medical world. “I want to become a surgeon one day, and for me I just want to be an understanding and caring person, I guess. I enjoy working with people and supporting and showing a legitimate sincere desire to understand someone.”
New AP appreciates dedicated interns like Christian and Annaliese!