The YULAA Community's Experience 

“The most rewarding aspect of being a Project Leader for NHLAA Office Hours was knowing that I and 20 other undergraduates were immersing ourselves in New Haven, giving back to a community that has graciously welcomed Yale students for centuries. Oftentimes, Yale can feel like a bubble and, through the Office Hours Project, volunteers were able to break away from the deadlines to focus on helping our fellow neighbors through their respective immigration procedures. Volunteers work closely with attorneys and clients to foster relationships that are seldom found on campus, all while acquiring skills that will be useful in future legal careers” -Brenda Cachay - NHLAA Office Hours Project Leader (2019-2020)

“The YULAA community has been my favorite part of my experience as a volunteer. I've been grateful to meet peers and collaborators who are so thoughtful, welcoming, and deeply committed to YULAA's mission. During one of my most fulfilling shifts, I had the opportunity to talk to an administrator at the Troup School, where I volunteered. She proposed many helpful ideas and suggestions to raise awareness of the legal clinic. The experience reminded me that YULAA's efforts depend on the support and guidance of our partner institutions. As a volunteer with YULAA, I learned about the critical work that organizations like the New Haven Legal Assistance Association are doing in the city. NHLAA's services can be invaluable for residents as they navigate family, housing, and immigration law.” - Avik Sarkar, SBLC volunteer (2019-2020)

“The thing I enjoyed most about being a YULAA volunteer was meeting people in the New Haven community that I wouldn't have had the chance to interact with otherwise. I loved being able to talk to the parents who stopped by the clinic table, even if it was just to exchange a quick "good morning." It definitely made me feel more connected to the community we're living in. The most fulfilling shift I attended was when Reggie Mayo had a vegetable giveaway in the morning during our shift. It was just great to feel like part of a community team where we're all coming together to help each other—be it by providing free vegetables or pro bono legal services!...I learned a lot about how to discuss delicate legal situations during the training with NHLAA. They taught us volunteers how to interact respectfully and professionally with clients, and much of this training wouldn't have been in my "common sense" arsenal. I am grateful that we had this opportunity, as now I feel like I know how to conduct myself properly and give the correct information as a non-lawyer discussing legal situations.” - Catherine Cerise, SBLC Volunteer (2019-2020)

“I learned about the issues that NHLAA is able to help their clients with—from eviction to immigration related cases. The school-based clinics were one way in which NHLAA works to offer their services to those without access to legal representation, and it was a rewarding experience to speak with one woman with her legal problems as she was relieved to start the process for NHLAA to help her.” - Sandhya Kumar, SBLC volunteer (2019-2020)

“YULAA allowed me to meaningfully connect with more people than I would have ever been able to do had I not been involved in a YULAA project. Within Yale, I found people who were incredibly passionate, committed to, and eager to help our local community in any way we could. Within the legal aid world, I got to work with lawyers at NHLAA who practiced such an admirable amount of empathy, tenacity, and devotion in their work. Finally, I got the opportunity to meet and learn about the residents whom we share the city with. Hearing their stories, challenges, and hopes for their families was humbling, and inspiring. The intersectionality of experiences that YULAA gives it volunteers offer perspective, growth, and interaction that I have not been able to find anywhere else at Yale.” - Arya Singh, SBLC Project Leader (2019-2020)