Gabriella Papper.

Safe Passage Project - New York, NY

Project Description

Preston Public Interest Career Fund Recipient

“As I have learned in Government classes, many people are either intimidated by our legal system or do not trust it,” especially those who immigrate to the United States. During her internship at the Safe Passage Project, Gaby applied her Government and Legal Studies major in an attempt to change that perception and “connect with underserved families and children in my home community in a direct and meaningful way.” Safe Passage provides support and legal representation for unaccompanied children in immigration court.

In court, Gaby participated in new client screenings, sat in on hearings, and frequently used her Spanish skills to communicate directly with families. In the office, she conducted research and translation, culminating in a 200-page packet on a client’s home country conditions. “After I finished the project, the attorney assigned to this case asked if I wanted to meet the child I had been helping. On the day when I was able to meet the child, my research no longer felt abstract—I could see the positive impact we had on his family as they worked to establish a new life in New York.”

Gaby’s work often proved emotionally draining. Many children’s stories involved danger or trauma, and “it was…challenging to feel constrained by slow federal or legal processes that could hold up cases.” However, “the positive impact of the organization was tangible and meaningful,” and ultimately outweighed the challenges. Thanks to her time at Safe Passage, Gaby hopes to help connect children in communities near Bowdoin with programs like Safe Passage. “The internship has also made me consider going into a career involving pro bono work or pre-law” after graduation.

Project Details

  • Date July 19, 2016
  • Tags 2016, Law, Preston, Social Service, Sophomore, USA

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