It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! Every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer who will be honored at our Pillars of Change Volunteer Recognition Event on May 10th. Learn more and register for Pillars of Change.
As an international student at NYU, Yuqing Wang was curious about life in New York City outside her campus and searched for volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch.com where she found Sanctuary for Families.
As a native Mandarin speaker, Yuqing utilizes her language skills as a volunteer interpreter for Sanctuary’s Queens Trafficking Intervention Pro Bono Program (QTIPP). In this role, Yuqing supports Sanctuary staff, pro bono attorneys, and clients every Friday at Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court by providing interpretation for client intakes and screenings.
“Interpretation for our clients is not as simple as translating words from one language to another,” explains Lauren Chung, Administrative Assistant, Anti-Trafficking Initiative.
“Many of the clients within the QTIPP program are vulnerable immigrants from East Asia and it is very difficult for them to recount experiences of abuse and trauma.”
Despite this, Yuqing approaches these intakes with extreme sensitivity and she becomes the client’s voice for the duration of the intake. “I can recall many cases in which a client walked into the office nervous and walked out with a smile on their faces. That’s one of the things I enjoy most about volunteering,” Yuqing explains.
In just over a year of volunteering at Sanctuary, Yuqing has translated for over 60 client intakes, working with over 50 pro bono attorneys from Sanctuary’s law firm partners. As an experienced trauma-sensitive interpreter, Yuqing has also been assisting the Anti-Trafficking Initiative with developing an interpreter training for future volunteers.
Yuqing’s talents have not gone unnoticed by Sanctuary staff:
“We have come to rely on Yuqing’s insightfulness – if there’s an intake that we anticipate will be particularly sensitive, we do our best to have Yuqing interpret for that intake, trusting that her presence will ease the client.”
For Yuqing, volunteering at Sanctuary has been rewarding both personally and professionally. One thing Yuqing did not expect was the relationships she would develop with other people working on the project:
“I met Maggy last year, who is a retired lawyer and we have collaborated many times. She was incredibly kind and was happy to share her experiences with me and give me advice. If not for this volunteer opportunity, I would never have gained this friendship.”
Yuqing always brings the focus of any conversation about her work back to the clients she works with. For Yuqing, the most rewarding part of her work is ‘seeing that someone in difficulty is more relieved after our interview’.
We sincerely thank Yuqing for her compassion, sensitivity, and insight and hope she will continue working with Sanctuary for a long time to come.
We look forward to celebrating Yuqing and four other amazing volunteers at Pillars of Change on May 10, 2018! You can join us at Pillars of Change by registering now. We hope to see you there!