I began working at AILA in June, 2022. As a relatively new employee tasked to oversee Volunteer Engagement & Member Services, I was able to see the strength of our volunteers immediately. Without our volunteers, AILA would not be able to do its work. Because showing gratitude and appreciation is very much ingrained into my leadership style, I kept my eyes open for ways to make sure our members and volunteers knew how much they mean to us. 

April serves as National Volunteer Appreciation Month with a goal of celebrating the impact of volunteers and encouraging volunteerism as a whole. Specifically, April 16-22 2023, is National Volunteer Appreciation Week which offers AILA the opportunity to recognize our members for giving their time, talent, and support to immigration law and policy. As our volunteer positions are unpaid and can be time intensive, we acknowledge the unwavering dedication that is required.  With over 1,000 volunteers association-wide, our members serve on the Board, as chapter officers, NDA volunteers, speakers, blog post writers, scholarship reviewers, committee members, etc. 

It was important to me to do something for our volunteers during this week, and I love that the Thank You video idea came to fruition (take a moment and watch below!).  As a small token of our appreciation, this video shows AILA National Staff members and members of the BOG’s Executive Committee simply saying “Thank You.”  I’ve felt that warmth when I am recognized for something I’ve done with a thank you – I bet you they have as well. In fact, research suggests appreciation is one of life’s greatest motivators and when we say ”Thank You,” it inspires people to do more. 

Volunteers are AILA’s lifeline. If you are interested in volunteering for AILA in any of the myriad capacities we need your time and expertise in, please take a few moments and  update your my AILA Demographics.  If you’re new to this process or would like a refresher, check out the recording from the February 2023 AILA University Roundtable “Be an AILA Influencer! How to Get Involved and Make an Impact”, which discusses the volunteering process. The call goes over how to get involved, tips on completing the volunteer interest form, and efforts to increase the number and type of volunteer opportunities this year. If you need even  more information about volunteering with AILA, please email volunteers@aila.org. 

We know our members all have extremely busy lives, having chosen a profession that makes such a difference in the lives of so many. We appreciate each and every one of our volunteers. Thank you!