Empowering Immigrant Girls and Championing Lawful Help By means of Volunteerism

Satisfy Daily Position of Light-weight Award honoree Bhavna Agnihotri. Study her story, and nominate an exceptional volunteer or family members as a Each day Place of Light.

Bhavna Agnihotri’s exemplary volunteer function paints the image of a focused specific deeply committed to empowering immigrant communities and furnishing crucial legal aid to individuals in have to have. Her involvement in many systems, which include SPEAKHIRE, Attorneys for Good Governing administration and a most cancers clinic, showcases her multifaceted tactic to volunteerism. By sharing her abilities and enthusiasm, Bhavna mentors younger immigrant ladies and drastically contributes to the betterment of culture by means of her legal work.

As a result of her function with SPEAKHIRE, Bhavna dedicates her time to developing and updating lesson plans as perfectly as encouraging learners to pursue increased education and learning and explore numerous job chances. Her initiatives have touched the lives of 21 superior faculty learners, presenting them priceless insights into occupation pathways and instilling self esteem in their pursuit of achievements.

Outside of mentoring, Bhavna’s purpose as a pro bono liaison extends her affect into the realm of legal help. Her get the job done with Attorneys for Good Governing administration will involve coordinating investigate on reproductive health legislation and other significant authorized problems. Additionally, her involvement in organizing a legal providers clinic for cancer clients and survivors by a cancer clinic in Oct of 2023 even more exemplifies her dedication to delivering access to justice for vulnerable populations.

Through her profession, Bhavna has also been a powerful advocate for diversity and inclusion, creating programming and mentoring junior colleagues to advertise an inclusive place of work. This is Bhavna’s story in her personal words.

Bhavna Agnihotri is a impressive case in point of having her lived expertise as an immigrant and paying out it ahead to potential generations.

Explain to us about your volunteer position.

As a Communicate mentor, I mentor teams of two to a few immigrant significant faculty girls once a 7 days for every 9-session round. In overall, I have participated in eight rounds and have mentored 20 immigrant girls. In these classes, we very first link on an personal level to build a partnership – ranging from the immigrant encounter to a adore of dance. By our periods, we concentrate on parts recognized by the mentees, Communicate and myself in a psychologically secure surroundings. These contain discovering occupation paths, the college or university application method, making public talking abilities, bettering research and job interview competencies and connecting them with assets and users of my network.

In addition to Speak, I also have a considerable ongoing motivation to DEI in the businesses I function in. This consists of establishing the Swiss Re Professional Bono software, sitting on an Americas-wide Variety Board, co-main and advising a variety of Personnel Useful resource Groups (together with co-leading and moderating strategic initiatives and programming) and establishing, primary and participating in professional bono initiatives which include a most cancers clinic, the Nationwide Veterans Authorized Guidance Task, developing nonprofits this kind of as Voices from Within and tasks with Lawyers for Good Federal government.

Why is this issue so important to you?

As an immigrant, I have navigated substantial faculty with mom and dad who were unfamiliar with the U.S. better education and learning and occupation paths. I was fortuitous to have accessibility to publications, counselors and lecturers to information and advise me through this time. Aiding these girls is my exertion to fork out it ahead, several of them do not have interactions with specialists who can provide as function products or mentors as they navigate this very important period of their life. Serving as their mentor will increase their publicity and boosts the accessibility of various profession paths for them.

President Obama published a list of organizations that one can volunteer with for the MLK Day of Service. Around the same time, I attended a DEI event where the speaker encouraged us to “be the change you want to see in the world,” which has stayed with me ever since. My connection with the mission of SPEAK and ability to volunteer via zoom made this opportunity stand out for me.

What are your long-term plans or goals for the organization?

Over the long term, I plan to keep volunteering with SPEAK and inspire others to become mentors. I also look forward to helping SPEAK by participating in and getting other members of my network involved in their Speaker Series. Hetal Jani has brought this organization a long way and is only just getting started. I look forward to seeing her expansion of SPEAK. The sheer number of lives she has improved is remarkable.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?

The most rewarding part of my work is seeing the impact it makes on these girls’ lives – whether it be successful presentations, obtaining an internship or even just opening up new possibilities for their lives. I remember helping one student prepare her application and prep for an interview for a summer internship program. She was ecstatic when she received an offer and is now in college. Just instilling in them the confidence that they have the ability and right to reach for the stars is often a tipping point for these students.

What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?

Each time I partake in a volunteer, charitable or pro bono activity, I always come away feeling that I have gained more than I have given. As a result of being a SPEAK mentor, I have gained a deeper understanding of different cultures, lived experiences, teenagers in today’s time (which helps me be a better parent) and myself. It also puts any problems I have in perspective, as the daily obstacles these young women face make any problems I have pale in comparison.

Why is it important for people to get involved with the causes they care about?

There are so many reasons. The impact created, the friends made and the sense of purpose provided are just a few. Some of my closest friends are people I have volunteered with. Creating a difference in even just one person’s life can be so meaningful. Volunteering has also been shown to reduce stress and combat depression, as it shifts your mental focus away from your own problems to a person or activity where you are making a positive difference.

Any advice for people who want to start volunteering?

Just do it. Try one or more projects related to causes you care about. If you are a leader, consider incorporating volunteering into your next team building exercise. Chances are you’ll meet new people and feel good about your contribution. If not, you will have learned about your preferences and can try another project. Volunteering, like life, is an iterative process.

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Bhavna? Find local volunteer opportunities.

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