Shobhana Kasturi has been volunteering with World Relief since December of 2014. As a volunteer attorney, she helps out in our Immigrant Legal Services Department. Conducting legal screenings, co-managing cases, and going to outreach events are just a few of the many tasks she has done to assist our immigration attorneys.
Hannah Kiefer, WRC’s Volunteer Coordinator, had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with Shobhana about her experience.
What has your experience been like helping in our ILS Department?
“. . . I’ve seen clients come in feeling hopeless and dejected, and when they leave after a consultation, there’s a joy and buoyancy because they’ve been given some hope. I feel like each attorney counselor genuinely wants to help.
“It’s not uncommon for [clients] to come in and give mementos, thank you’s, bring in food, etc. Some will come in and sit down and want to chat because now their relationship has evolved. It’s transcended even that [working] relationship. That says a lot about the services that are provided. That says that the client has been touched by the work that has been done.”
What kinds of challenges and/or joys have you experienced during your service?
“. . . the ILS branch of World Relief . . . provides more nurture and care even though [there are] lots of cases that are going through. I don’t feel like the clients are a number. Their advocates know them by name. They know their cases in and out. If you went right now and asked [a staff member] about a case, [they] could rattle off all the details. The level of care is really strong.
“If you have compassion when you’re advocating, it makes such a difference. That’s why they have such a good record.”
Shobhana had additional observations to share.
“[The Department isn’t just] providing them with legal service, but also giving them hope, a small glimmer of hope. The advocacy is not just a mechanical thing, but combined with passion and a desire for success.
“That’s been my experience and that’s why I want to continue to have a connection with ILS WR. That motivates me.”
What kinds of lessons have you learned as a volunteer?
“I have really learned to be more patient. On scale of 1 to 10, I used to be 2 or 3. Now I’m a 9 or 10. It’s been a big contributor. I don’t let things get to me as much, and I try to handle things with more grace.”
Have you grown personally in other ways? If so, how?
“Service has been very important to me, even as a child. Unfortunately, my career took me away from that. . . . [T]his [has] really brought me back to the joy of giving back. I had not been so happy before. It keeps me very grounded. I have a smile back on my face because I love what I’m doing. I love seeing the impact.
“The passion I had as a kid has been kind of re-lit. . . . It’s been life-changing because I see the next two decades of my life [about giving back].”
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