Written by: Andleeb Azad

Aymen Sherwani is an undergraduate student at the University of Calgary who hopes to one day go to law school and pursue a career in criminal law. In 2018, she started volunteering as a Program Resource volunteer with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary, having now moved to a new position as a Traffic & Bylaw Court Volunteer.

Aymen first became involved with the organization because she wanted to gain more knowledge and experience within the legal system while giving back to the community and understand racial inequality in Canada. When asked why Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary was her choice of organization to work with, she replied “At the time, I was looking for a meaningful cause to dedicate my energy and time towards. I applied to the Elizabeth Fry Society with the understanding that I would be volunteering to directly aid previously incarcerated women, or women in need…” In addition to volunteering for a school newspaper as an opinions columnist, Aymen publishes articles and poetry, and practices karate.

What has working with the Elizabeth Fry Society taught you, both in your personal and professional life?

Through volunteering with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary, Aymen has gained extensive knowledge about the legal and criminal justice system. She has honed important life skills, such as interacting with strangers confidently and staying composed even in a chaotic situation. An important insight gained from her work with the Society is that “Life is unpredictable, so be thankful for what you have, and never stop fighting for what you aspire to achieve.”

Why do you believe the community should be supporting the Elizabeth Fry Society?

Aymen wants the community and potential donors to know that the Society “is very wholesome” and she also recommends volunteering with the organization, saying that “it is worth it”. She wants the community to know that “I feel like if more people were involved and actively trying to be a part of the solution to the objectives that the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary is attempting to achieve, change would happen quicker.”

How has your role with the Elizabeth Fry Society changed you as a person? How do you think it has changed or impacted those who’ve come to its doors seeking help?

Working with the organization has affected Aymen, in that it opened her eyes to how much truly needs to be done in the world. “I feel that there is so much more that can be done to aid women escape the cycle of poverty. Enforcers of the law should definitely be involved in discussions and be a part of the solution in an effort to not only reduce the rates of crime, but also successfully rehabilitate previously incarcerated women into society again to prevent repeat crimes.” However, she does feel that she is making a difference in others’ lives, even if it may be a small one: “As a Program Resource Volunteer, many women came into the office asking for food and bus tickets, and I was happy to be able to help them in a moment of need like that. At the courthouse, I am always happy to help individuals who are coming to the courthouse for the first time and don’t understand how to navigate the system.”