Volunteer Spotlight: Angela Rios
Volunteer Spotlight: Angela Rios
One of the most important parts of BIIN’s IRA program are the clinics. Every Saturday from 2-4 PM BIIN opens its doors for people who might need help from our Information, Referral, and Assistance program. We help our clients with a variety of things which include notary services, translations, paperwork, immigration questions, green card renewals, etc. We have a team of 8 volunteers who each commit to coming in twice a month. Our volunteers are the ones who help keep the IRA clinics running smoothly by attending to clients.
One of BIIN’s most beloved volunteers is Angela Rios. Angela first discovered BIIN in 2019. Her mother had attended BIIN’s citizenship classes and urged Angela to get involved and volunteer. In 2020, Angela applied and started volunteering for the ESL classes. A year later, she applied for the IRA program.
Angela has been a volunteer for IRA. She has been attending the clinics for two years and has no intention of stopping. She plans to be a volunteer until she moves away from the area. Angela loves being a part of IRA “because of the variety of cases [she] gets to work with. You never know what you’re going to get, and there are always new ways to help people.”
Angela works at Brazos Valley Council of Governments in the HIV administration department. They administer Ryan White funds from the state to rural agencies across the state of Texas that provide services to low income individuals that live with HIV. They basically act as a middleman between the state & these agencies by making sure they follow the legislation. There is a database that agencies receiving this funding need to input information into this database and that is her job. Her responsibilities include training agency staff on how to use this database and submitting reports to the state, federal government & help their agencies with running reports and submitting their own reports to the US, the state or federal governments. Outside of work, Angela likes to read, go hiking and also go shopping.
Regarding her experience with BIIN, Angela described it as “really good, BIIN is a great place with kind staff and experienced volunteers that are very knowledgeable and help you learn and be better.” Angela is also one of BIIN’s board of directors. She likes being directly involved with the clients through IRA, and additionally gets fulfillment through being part of the decision making of the organization. Angela wants to work towards getting BIIN’s name out there and providing more resources to those in need.
Angela described BIIN’s growth since COVID by stating that “our partnership with Region 6 has allowed for our english classes to grow allowing more students to learn english. IRA has also been able to help more people by being available every weekend since we have expanded from being available only 2 Saturdays of the month”.
Angela described the most fulfilling thing for her is “being able to help people from the community, knowing people are able to benefit from these programs, like learning english or helping people renew their residency.”
A piece of advice that Angela would give to prospective volunteers is to “just go for it and try it for a month or so. You will learn a lot of things about the community and that will be beneficial.”
Thanks to Minha Shabbir for interviewing and writing this piece on one of BIIN’s volunteers and to Grace Graham for editing the piece.