On Friday, November 17, 2023, NYLAG client and Pro Se Plus Project volunteer Yarys Lopez was honored at Robin Hood’s 2023 Heroes Breakfast.
Yarys came to the US as an asylum seeker in 2014 when she was about 11 years old. Immigrant Protection Unit Supervising Attorney Allison Cutler met the family a couple years later at the Bronx Family Justice Center where she was connected to Yarys’s mother, who had just suffered a recent domestic violence incident.
At the time, Yarys and her family had multiple legal needs, which Allison worked to address and inevitably secured status for Yarys, her mother, and her two sisters. Throughout much of the process, Yarys—who was living in a homeless shelter with her family until 2020, when they were able to obtain permanent housing—graduated valedictorian of her high school class. Currently a senior political science major, she is set to graduate college with honors in May of 2024, and was inspired by NYLAG’s intervention for her and her family to become an immigration attorney. Yarys pursued volunteer opportunities with a legal services organization to work towards this goal, which led Allison to bring her in as a volunteer with the Pro Se Plus Project this summer.
Yarys’s story is remarkable, and NYLAG is honored to be a part of it as she pursues her undeniably bright future. Listen to Yarys accept Robin Hood’s 2023 Hero recognition here: