Naama Hod is a 2017-2018 AmeriCorps VISTA member working on the New York State Attorney Emeritus Program. She is an Israeli-trained attorney with an LL.M. from University of Washington School of Law.
What led you to become an Americorps VISTA member at the Feerick Center for Social Justice?
I was looking for a way to get involved with the social justice field in New York. I saw the posting online and after researching the Feerick Center’s mission, and the New York State Attorney Emeritus Program, I thought this would be a great opportunity to use my legal background to help promote social justice in New York.
How would you describe your year of service with the Feerick Center?
In a word: diverse. I was involved in so many projects with which I never expected to be involved, and I learned from so many incredible people. As part of my work on the Attorney Emeritus Program I was involved in every aspect of capacity building and led projects that helped support the program’s growth. Examples of this work are, among others, organizing CLE and information sessions for AEP volunteers (senior attorneys, judges, general counsels, etc.); preparing an AEP monthly e-newsletter by placing stories about the program and extraordinary AEP volunteers in different newspapers; soliciting nominations of such volunteers from AEP host organizations; creating new partnerships with AEP host organizations; and presenting data about the program to the New York City AEP Advisory Council and the Feerick Center’s advisory board. I also worked with the Feerick Center staff, which has been a huge privilege.
What is your most memorable moment working at the Feerick Center as an Americorps VISTA member?
My most memorable moment was learning about the many pro bono hours AEP volunteers are able to contribute to low-income New Yorkers. One of the AEP volunteers contributed an astonishing number of 1,200 hours in the past year. When we solicited nominations of AEP volunteers from AEP host organizations, we read stories and learned of the impact AEP volunteers had through their pro bono service. It was a great feeling to know that I had a part in this.
What advice would you give to an incoming VISTA member?
Get to know the people who work at the Feerick Center. They are an amazing group of professionals who are committed to promoting social justice. There is something to learn from every one of them. Also, use this year to learn what you are passionate about and how you can best use your skills to make a difference.
What impact, if any, has this year of service had on your life?
Coming from a legal background, I learned a lot of new skills that I can use in my future career, such as how to develop relationships and partnerships with senior professionals, law firms, and different organizations. I learned a lot about the public interest world, and I made connections and relationships that I hope will stay with me for a long time.