Children Now® Insider: Stories, News, And Insights On Children’s Advocacy
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June 29, 2021
The Children Now team has grown this summer with the addition of nine Children’s Movement equity fellows – all of whom are working remotely – and we are thrilled to have them on board! The fellowship is an eight-week program for students who are interested in pursuing a career in government, advocacy, and/or politics. Fellows receive education on policy issues facing California’s children, exposure to a broad range of non-profit organizations through Movement recruitment, and skills-building in a professional environment.
Children Now Insider chatted with the fellows to learn a bit more about each of them; here’s what they had to say:
What do you hope to learn this summer?
Anusha Fatehpuria, a third-year student at UCLA, majoring in human biology and society and minoring in global health:
This summer, I hope to learn more about how grassroots organizing can be optimized to promote policy changes that improve the lives of kids. I am also excited to learn about different policy areas from the amazing team at Children Now, particularly regarding health policy and public health. Finally, I hope to become a better advocate for all children across the state and actively apply those skills by working with The Children’s Movement.
Erika Guzman Cornejo, a graduate of UC Irvine, with bachelor’s degrees in political science and international studies:
I’m looking forward to seeing the way a non-profit runs from the inside. I’m also excited to learn about the different elements of effective policymaking. Most of all, I’m looking forward to the lessons, advice, and stories from staff members that will stick with me long past this summer.
Carmen Raya, a second-year student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, double majoring in education studies and Spanish:
This summer I hope to learn more about the policymaking process and the measures taken to ensure the implementation of each policy is effective. Specifically, I would like to get a well-rounded perspective on education issues and policies so that I can improve my advocacy for equity in education. Overall, I want to learn from the staff and the other fellows and see how their expertise is intersectional with the efforts concerning kids.
Gloria Gaulpo Baroi, a junior at UC Irvine, double majoring in public health science and political science:
There is already so much that I have learned, but I am most excited to join all of the upcoming shadow opportunities. This fellowship is unique because these shadow opportunities give me the chance to observe many different professions and modes of creating change within the community. I also really enjoy all of our conversations we’ve had with the various teams at Children Now. I have always wanted to work in a non-profit organization, and now I have a better understanding of what I can expect. I am enthusiastic to learn more and I cannot wait to grow with the other fellows this summer!
Khanh Phu, a first-year graduate student at UCLA, studying social welfare:
This summer, I hope to learn as much as I can about the non-profit space: the behind-the-scenes operations, the funding process, and the collaborative relationships with Children’s Movement members. One day, I hope to be in a position to affect change for youth through policy, so I want to learn everything that the Children Now staff have to offer. My goal is to be able to graduate from this fellowship with a better understanding of how to grow in my program development skills, how to build a greater network of like-minded individuals, and how to apply my own strengths and perspectives to this work.
Rhea Grover, a second-year student at UC Berkeley, majoring in legal studies and minoring in human rights:
I hope to learn more about children’s policy and the methods of achieving a Pro-Kid California. I am also excited about the many shadowing opportunities offered, so I can get a deep dive into the day-to-day work of different teams in the organization. Additionally, by working alongside the mission-driven staff at Children Now, I hope to learn more about what equity and inclusion looks like in practice.
Kelly Warren, a senior at Vanderbilt University, double majoring in cognitive science and child development:
This summer, I hope to learn as much as possible about the educational inequities in California as well as how advocacy organizations run as a whole. Prior to starting this fellowship, I have had little experience with policy work so I want to expand my depth of knowledge in that area. Lastly, I am excited to learn about the interests and passions of all the other fellows!
Murong (Patty) Yao, a third-year student at UC Berkeley, majoring in political economy and minoring in public policy:
Personally, I’m most interested in education policy and want to learn more about Children Now’s work in education equity, but I also hope to learn about the entire policy process from campaign to implementation and enforcement in all areas. In addition, I look forward to learning more about the role of communities in creating change at both the local and statewide levels.
Bella Lalanne, a senior at UC San Diego, majoring in political science with an emphasis in data analytics, and minoring in health care:
This summer I am looking forward to learning more about how children’s health research is folded into policy initiatives. I am also really interested in the policymaking process, and how the current polarized climate of politics is navigated by non-profits. I can’t wait to connect with everyone and learn about the non-profit policy world!
What surprised you the most about your college experience? How has the pandemic changed/affected college life?
Erika: Finding community at UCI surprised me the most. I’m undocumented and not being able to share space with people like me was something I was nervous about as a first year. Lucky for me, I found my community very quickly and was able to thrive on campus with its support. There really is something for everyone in college!
The pandemic made me quarantine for the last half of my college experience. I graduated last month and couldn’t properly say goodbye to UCI with a virtual ceremony. I’m starting a one-year master’s program in the fall; hopefully, I can have a proper graduation in a year!
I loved my experience at UC Irvine! (Well, mostly the parts before the pandemic.) I’m going to miss this city. It is so peaceful, beautiful, and green. It’s very different from the city (LA) that I grew up in.
Carmen: Starting my college journey in the middle of a pandemic and in a new state was challenging especially because I did not have my family by my side, and everything was virtual. Navigating a predominately white institution during this time was draining as it was difficult to find my community on campus. However, I was surprised that regardless of all the barriers I was faced with, I grew as a person and finished the academic year strong.
Gloria: The most surprising part about college so far has been the wide variety of classes I am taking for my degrees. There is such a large diversity of thought in all of my classes, and I have learned so much these last two years. From classes like Race and Gender in Science to Health Informatics, my understanding of health and social determinants coupled with my own experiences as an asylee has made me appreciate my position in academia. The pandemic has only made me more aware of these disparities and more eager to keep learning so I can start serving. I cannot wait for my final two years as an undergraduate student and keep learning from my community about the ways to best serve them.
Kelly: In the past three years, the most important lesson I have learned is that it’s okay to ask for help. This lesson became especially relevant when facing college during a pandemic. During that time, I learned to lean on my peers and professors in a way that I had not before; I asked more questions, sought support, and talked with others about the ways we had all been affected. It made me not only a better student but also a better friend because I was engaging in shared experiences and struggles with others. While not ideal, the pandemic enhanced areas of my college experience that I could not have anticipated.
What was the last book that you read for fun? What’s next on your reading list?
Anusha: I most recently finished reading Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs, in which she describes her story of coming to age in Silicon Valley as the eldest daughter of Steve Jobs. I loved how gracefully and honestly she portrayed her experiences and identity struggles growing up, and I would consider this one of my favorite memoirs. Next, I am planning to read Seeing Serena, the story of how Serena Williams returned to professional tennis after giving birth to her daughter. Williams has always been one of my favorite athletes and I am excited to learn more about the consequential impact she has had on the world of women’s sports.
Khanh: The last book I read was This Is How You Lose the Time War. It’s about two female time-traveling, shape-shifting spy agents on opposite sides of a war and they fall in love. It’s queer and beautiful. Next on my reading list is Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. My goal is to read more non-fiction texts that will give me new perspectives.
Bella: The last book I read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I’ve always loved coming of age stories because of the connections you can make with all characters. The next book I am looking forward to reading is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins so that I can start diving more into the mystery series.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one superpower, what would it be and why?
Rhea: If I could wake up with a superpower tomorrow, I would want to have the ability to communicate with all animals. Every morning I wake up to little birds next to my window and I always wonder what they must be chirping about. I think it would be neat to get their perspectives about the world and to have conversations with them.
Patty: My superpower would be to have the ability to teleport anywhere in the world. It would open up so many opportunities for me to see different parts of the world as well as visit my friends and family without having to get on a plane.