Sharing stories of FCJ Refugee Centre volunteers:
My name is J.P. and I am a 1st year law student at the University of Toronto
Volunteering at FCJ was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my first semester. I can truly say that I’ve never been in a place where so many people are helping others in such critical ways. Each Friday, I observe FCJ staff running educational workshops for youth, meeting with a seemingly constant stream of clients, and liaising over the phone with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada to resolve client issues. It’s easy to get disconnected from real world issues in law school, so I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to watch the staff at FCJ expertly help those with daunting immigration related problems.
Moreover, while other opportunities for beginner law students often only involve clerical work, at FCJ I’ve had the opportunity each shift to handle real files for real clients. While this prospect seemed overwhelming at first, the FCJ staff does an amazing job preparing volunteers. It started at orientation when Francisco thoroughly explained the ins and outs of refugee advocacy. Each week, Diana clearly explains to me the approach I should take on a file, and Devyn, the staff lawyer, expertly synthesizes case law that is always of great assistance. Finishing my first written appeal was an incredibly exciting and rewarding experience and I am very excited to continue volunteering in the coming months!