This JFCY Volunteer Profile is about volunteer Arif Hussain. It was written by fellow JFCY volunteer Georjo Tabucan.
You know passion when you see it, and in the few months that I’ve been volunteering with JFCY, I’ve been using my detective skills in my quest to write about the perfect volunteer in this top secret volunteer profile. I can honestly say that my years of training in gathering information have paid off! Now allow me to share with you some really interesting information about Arif Hussain, a young man with a lot of passion (But remember, this is top secret!).
A recent English and Philosophy graduate from the University of Toronto, Arif Hussain is an active volunteer with JFCY - one of the founding members of the Public Legal Education Team whose inception began in 2010, as well as a member on the Board of Directors. I recently had the chance to speak to him regarding his experience so far with JFCY and how much the law means to him:
Q: Why did you decide to volunteer with JFCY?
A: It is now my third year volunteering with JFCY. I had always been interested in law growing up but nothing specifically. Youth law stood out as something very important to me when I was taking high school law courses, perhaps because I was a youth at the time. Anyways, in my second year [of university] I was advised by an academic coach that down the line professional and graduate schools will be looking at more than just GPA or test scores. In searching for volunteer activities, I happened to come across a JFCY posting on the UofT career website. The rest is history.
Q: How long have you been with JFCY and what is your role within the organization?
A: I started off as a volunteer with the Public Legal Education Team. It was very small at the time. I still remember my first meeting, there were 6 of us including the person in charge of the committee and staff lawyer with JFCY, Andrea Luey. For my work with the clinic, I was also elected as a member of the board of directors last November 2011. On the board we make decisions regarding the clinic in all its aspects. Outside of my degree, volunteering with this clinic has been the best education I have received thus far.
Q: What are your future goals, both personally and with JFCY?
A: At the moment I am applying to law school. Becoming a lawyer had been my life long goal, since I was 8 to be exact but who's counting, right? I am very nervous about my law school applications and as result, I have applied everywhere. Ideally, I want to stay in the city and still regularly volunteer with JFCY but if that's not possible we have students out of the city who can send in blog posts or still help out in other ways, and I could do that as well. Regardless of what happens, I see myself continuing to work with JFCY.
Q: How important is the law to you?
A: Important doesn't even begin to cover it. I was interested in practicing law in Canada based on what I was seeing around me long before I could speak the English language when I first arrived here. I was 8 at the time. Everything I have done since then has been a preparation towards this end goal, including my involvement with JFCY to the undergraduate programs I chose. It is an obsession in many ways.
Q: Why is it essential for children and youth to be aware of their rights?
It's like this - we should always be at least aware of the rules governing any system that we are a part of. Whether or not you are a pro at it, arguably most teens today have a Facebook account. But before anyone learns to post or like anything, we quickly learn how Facebook as a system operates through various and very accessible means. When one learns a new language, one must first learn the rules of speech, grammar etc. I'm not suggesting that every youth go out and become a legal expert or get a law degree. But I think everyone who is able, has a responsibility to themselves to be aware of the law. It's good to know a few things about the system we live in.
Arif is currently taking the year off to further explore the field of law in its practical setting, working at the ADR Institute of Canada, and wishes to work in social justice upon becoming a lawyer (you know, modern day superheroes who want to bring about change. That’s inspiring!). Aside from volunteering, working, and pursuing his legal interests, Arif likes to spend his free time working out at the gym, and keeping himself abreast with new technology and gadgets.
By now you probably realize that I’m not really a detective...or am I? (Just kidding) But in all seriousness, Arif is probably one of the most passionate people I have ever met and I wish him all the best in his applications to law school. He’s a cool and bright individual, if I do say so myself!