Children Now Insider: Meet Our 2023 Children’s Movement Equity Fellows!

Children Now® Insider: Stories, News, And Insights On Children’s Advocacy

July 12, 2023

The Children Now team has grown this summer with the addition of eight Children’s Movement equity fellows 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? 

This summer, I am excited to learn more about the processes of policy creation and analysis to understand how different policies are formulated and how they impact the issues they are intended to address. I am curious to see how government, non-profits, and other community actors interact in this process and the role advocacy plays in passing policy.  
– Maya Levi 

I am excited to get familiar with the different policy areas that Children Now focuses on. I would like to dive deeper into issues that I am already involved in, such as early childhood education, as well as learning about issues that I feel less familiar with, like the workings of California’s foster care system.
– Madeleine Wilson 

This summer, I hope to expand my understanding of child welfare policy and its intersections with other areas, such as education and health.  I am also eager to dive into policy implementation and how real change can be generated and sustained in the field of children’s advocacy.
Jake Chang 

I hope to learn firsthand what it’s like to work in children’s advocacy, as it’s a field I’m really interested in but know very little about. I think gaining real experience with public policy work will help me determine if it’s something I might want to pursue. I’d also like to learn about working in the nonprofit sector, and Children Now’s staff experiences, both the rewarding and challenging parts.
– Isabella Sharp 

During this fellowship, I hope to learn more about Children Now’s Pro-Kid approach to policy and outreach efforts. Additionally, because I am passionate about child migration and education policy, I am also excited to use my summer with Children Now as an opportunity to learn from policy experts about how we can change our education system in California to meet the needs of recently arrived students from all parts of the world.
Guadalupe Vasquez 

I hope to learn more about how policy can be used to dismantle systems that perpetuate injustices against minority populations, especially children within those populations. I also want to become more acquainted with the policy landscape in California and the role powerful advocacy organizations like Children Now have effective state policy outcomes.
Zayaan Khan 

One thing that I hope to learn this summer is the effort it takes to enact change. Recruiting new members to join The Children’s Movement and learning about the work that staff at Children Now is moving forward will illuminate the systems change and mobilization efforts organizations undertake.  I hope that this is something that I can take with me into my future both in preparation for and as a means of pursuing action in policy areas that need greater change.
Isabelle Moore 


What surprised you the most about your college experience? 

The amount of personal and academic freedom has surprised me most about my college experience. I would have never expected to be taking a class on classics or on American cultures, but learning about a wide diversity of topics has allowed me to draw interdisciplinary connections. I’ve learned that every class is integral to my education no matter the subject because of the transferrable skills in writing, speaking and research I acquire in each class. Being in an environment that is conducive to exploration across subjects also helped me to discover many more interests.  
Jake Chang 

The different people I have met and experiences I have had. I knew going in that college was going to be fun and I would learn a great deal, but the incredibly diverse array of knowledge I have learned by trying new things and getting to know people with separate backgrounds from mine was surprising (in the best way).  Joining new clubs like the newspaper, taking classes that weren’t connected to my major but nonetheless sounded interesting, and saying yes to as many experiences as possible has been great. It has connected me with more people than I thought possible.
– Isabella Sharp 

Something that really surprised me about my college experience was how much time I get to be in my own company. Although college is a great place to meet new people and learn new things, it is also the place where you will learn many new things about your own self. One thing that I have learned over the last three years is that being alone is not synonymous with being lonely. When you are away from your friends and family, you get to explore yourself and find new things that you enjoy.
– Saleena Dhakal 


What is a book you have read recently/what is on your reading list? 

Book I read: Braiding Sweetgrass by Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer
Want to read next: Salt. Fat. Acid. Heat. by Samin Nosrat
Madeleine Wilson 

Book I read: The New Crusades: Islamophobia and the Global War on Muslims by Khaled Beydoun High 
Want to read next: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi
Zayaan Khan 

Book I read: The White Album by Joan Didion
Wasn’t to read next: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Guadalupe Vasquez 


What would you do if you won the lottery? 

I would open a bakery/café and farm or a bed and breakfast by the beach. It would be one that’s on a “pay what you can”, sliding scale to make it accessible to anyone who wants to visit. 
– Maya Levi 

I would put the money toward medical research. Having family members that suffered from neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and a brother who is already involved in research, I would love to be able to set up a research grant for clinical research both focused on treatment and quality of life.
– Isabelle Moore 

I would invest in both myself and non-profits that I am aligned with. I would love to have the financial freedom to further pursue my education, as well as career opportunities that I am interested in. In turn, I would like to give back and make such opportunities available to others who have traditionally been unable to take advantage of them.
– Jake Chang 


If you could wake up tomorrow with one superpower, what would it be and why? 

My superpower would be teleportation. I love to travel, and it’d be amazing to be able to get to different places around the world in the blink of an eye. I could see my friends from school who live around the country, and even visit all the different Children Now offices.
– Isabella Sharp 

If I could wake up with one superpower tomorrow, it would be the ability to visit the past. I do not wish to alter anything that has happened to me or others, but it has always been my wish to see my mother as a young girl. I would want to visit my mother when she was my age and see how she lived her life. I would also like to experience my migration journey one more time. I immigrated when I was twelve, so I do not have a vivid memory of it. Hence, visiting my past would be nice!
– Saleena Dhakal 

If I could wake up tomorrow with one superpower, I would choose speed because I would love to get to places quickly and beat rush hour in New York. Plus, I could get a few extra minutes (maybe even hours) of sleep every morning! 
– Guadalupe Vasquez 

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