The Teach Immigration Project has selected three student ambassadors to intern this summer at Long Island-based non-profits that works on immigration issues. The intern experience will foster the students' interest in community and civic engagement and acquaint them with community needs and resources. The students will interact with community leaders and decision makers. They will develop leadership skills, have the opportunity to share their experiences with the community at future events, and will present at a student forum in the fall.
Meet this year’s student ambassadors:
William Ban, 17, is an active member of his school, Great Neck South High School, and community. He is the Grand Prize recipient of the Shanti Fund “Youth for Peace” competition, the President’s Volunteer Service Award for over 150 service hours in a year, and a 2015 Deca Nationals Stock Market Game Finalist, placing second out of 1300 regional volunteers. He is an avid skit and song performer on independence movements and world peace and has served as a MC for several community events.
When asked about why he believes immigration is important to the future of Long Island, Ban responded, “when our community becomes more diversified, we gain new ideas, cultures, and perspectives.” He added that it is a civic duty to “integrate immigrants to the Long Island community and discourage racial biases or feelings of hateful nativism.”
Ban will be interning with Long Island Wins.
Shafaq Khan, 16, is a volunteer and leader in her school, Sewanhaka High School, and community. She is the President of her school’s Key Club, a nationwide community service organization, raising awareness and funds for other organizations, including the Make-a-Wish Foundation and UNICEF. She teaches Model UN debate skills to elementary students and organizes elementary and high school level Model UN conferences. She also tutors ELL students, writes for her school newspaper, and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Khan writes, “immigrants help broaden perspectives regarding race, ethnicity, religion, and culture.” Citing Justice Sonia Sotomayor as one of her role models, Khan hopes to become a lawyer or judge, specifically addressing immigration, religious tolerance, women’s rights, and racial profiling.
Khan will be interning with Caracen.
Zairel Luna, 16, is a student at Centereach High School, where she holds several leadership positions including serving as Sophomore Class President, Black History Month and Women’s History Month Committee Coordinators, and as a member of honor societies including the Music Honors Society, the Italian Honors Society, and as an Honor Student.
Luna wrote in her application that she believes “the future of Long Island is in the hands of Millenials” and that she has worked hard to encourage the voices of her peers to be heard on immigration and other issues they feel strongly about.
Luna will be interning with Jobs with Justice.