CHD Perspectives: Sarah Sameer
Sarah Sameer is the newest member of our Immigration & Citizenship Program team to become an Accredited Representative certified by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP). This greatly increases the ability for Sarah to assist Immigration & Citizenship Program clients with broader levels of support. This is a testament to her dedication to service and her desire to create positive change for the communities we serve! Congratulations to Sarah! You can read a short part of her life’s journey below in her own words.
“In January 2020 I came to CHD to update my resume. Before coming I called the office for an appointment and the front desk told me they accept walk-ins. When I walked into the building I felt as if I have been there before. The young lady at the front desk did my intake and then a CHD Youth Case Manager came to help me with my resume. While she updated the resume, the Case Manager asked me what other languages I spoke. I told her I was from Pakistan and spoke Urdu, Pashto, Hindko, Hindi, and Punjabi, to which she said that CHD’s Immigration team needed someone who was fluent in Urdu. That’s when she called Sharon Gillies, a current Immigration and Citizenship team member, over to us. When I saw Sharon, she was smiling at me, I felt warm and welcomed, and Sharon asked me to tell her about myself.
I told Sharon about all the hardships I was facing, one being non-stop domestic abuse, and many other problems.
I told her how I made it to the US in November 2014 with the help of my father and the US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, and about my first job in the US that I started in August 2015, working as a para-educator at LUSD, I became a US citizen in 2019 by doing all my paperwork by myself and didn’t share any details with anyone even after becoming a US citizen as I would live in constant fear. I told Sharon, that at the time I was a single mother of 4 kids and going through some tough times with no support.
I wanted to start a new job so I could support my kids and myself without facing any problems. I had completed an MBA (Finance) and always wanted to be an Accountant. I was an intern at one of the top banks in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Due to personal reasons, I couldn’t continue working at the same bank after a full-time job offer.
When I walked into the CHD building in 2020, it felt like being home. Meeting Sharon and the team made me not want to leave.
The Urdu-speaking Immigration assistant job was already posted, and I applied for it the same day. In the meantime, I would come to the office daily and help as a volunteer with the English-to-Urdu translations for the Public Charge Law which was worrying to the immigrant population. I was hired after 2 weeks for 6 hours per week, and after one week my hours were increased from 6 to 15. After 7 months I became full-time. After 2 months in my position, I was promoted from being an Immigration Assistant to an Immigration Case Manager, and for that big change, I am thankful to our CEO Thomas Stuebner and our Program Director Theresa Ordonez. I also started my paid training from CHD to become a Department of Justice Partially Accredited Representative.
Coming to CHD, meeting everyone, and working here brought a positive change in my life. The fear of everyone and everything is gone. Working with all the wonderful ladies who are strong, confident, and independent gives me satisfaction and hope for myself too. Now that I have become Partially Accredited, I feel I have more responsibility toward CHD and the community. I want to help more people and bring a positive change in their lives just like I did in mine.
I am very thankful to all my colleagues and especially my Immigration team for their continuous help and support.”