Children Now Insider: Meet Our 2024 Children’s Movement Equity Fellows!

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

June 25, 2024

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:

Clementine Daniel

Hometown: Ocean Beach, San Francisco California 

Education: University of California, Los Angeles 

Areas of Study: Human Biology and Society (major) and Global Health (minor) 

Favorite Food: Sweet potatoes, because they are incredibly versatile! 

Beaches or Mountains?: Beaches! I love the open space, salty air, and the sound of waves that beaches here in California provide.   

Most excited to learn about: The intersection of children’s health with the diversity of childhoods in the state through exploring Children Now’s policy and outreach efforts for communities. Also understanding how different organizations in California work together to achieve positive outcomes for kids. 

Vijay Damerla

Hometown: Arcadia, California 

Education: University of Southern California 

Areas of Study: Environmental Studies (major) and Political Science (minor) 

Favorite Food: Deep fried/baked sushi rolls. 

Beaches or Mountains?: Beaches 9/10 times! 

Most excited to learn about: More effective means of conducting policy research and understanding more about what factors contribute to public health. 

Caroline Yao

Hometown: San Diego, California 

Education: Haverford College 

Areas of Study: Political Science (major), Sociology (major), Education Studies and Statistics (minor) 

Favorite Food: Udon! I love to enjoy it especially on a colder day as it warms the soul. 

Beaches or Mountains?: It depends; I prefer the beaches when I’m walking or relaxing with friends or family and looking for a nice breeze, but the mountains when I’m looking for a small getaway and some fresh air.  

Most excited to learn about: Deepening my understanding of education policy, gaining experience in working in the public policy sector, and learning from professionals in the field. I’m excited about the prospects of furthering my passions and work in children’s advocacy and helping experts to fight for equitable access to quality education for all children in California.  

Faith Donithan

Hometown: Concord, California 

Education: San Francisco State University 

Areas of Study: International Relations (major), Refugee and Migration Studies (certification) 

Favorite Food: Soup. I love soup of any kind, but my favorite one to make is a lemon chickpea soup that my friends and I found online. We add tahini which makes the soup super creamy and delicious. Mainly I love how you can add different spices and veggies to soup and at the end have a pot of something that you get to share with your loved ones. 

Beaches or Mountains?: I definitely prefer the mountains over the beach. There’s something really refreshing and grounding about being surrounded by a bunch of trees and greenery. One of my favorite hikes is called, “Inspiration Point”, and has a stunning 360 view of the Bay Area once you reach the top.  

Most excited to learn about: How to navigate the policy sphere to protect and advocate for underrepresented communities, such as children. Alongside this, I’m interested in learning how nonprofits, such as Children Now, work with their local community to create change within policy.  

Shahzareh Ali

Hometown: La Canada Flintridge, California 

Education: University of California, Los Angeles 

Areas of Study: Study of Religion 

Favorite Food: Pad Thai with chicken. Los Angeles is filled with diverse cuisines and cultures, and I love the selection of Thai restaurants. One of my favorites is Mr. Noodle in Westwood. 

Beaches or Mountains?: I prefer beaches. I’ve spent most of my life in Southern California and going to the beach has always been one of my favorite activities with friends and family. I love the coastal scenery and relaxing on the sand with a good book. 

Most excited to learn about: Policy making in California. I am excited to gain valuable experience and insight while also pushing for a better future where children’s well-being is prioritized by lawmakers.   

Abigail Haller

Hometown: Lake Forest Park, Washington 

Education: University of California, Santa Barbara 

Areas of Study: Global Studies and Spanish 

Favorite Food: My favorite food is a certain dish which I end up making for dinner most nights of the week. It consists of a base of quinoa or brown rice with sauteed plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh and tons of veggies. A classic soy sauce or sesame ginger dressing tops it off. 

Beaches or Mountains?: Here in Santa Barbara, I am lucky enough to get the best of both worlds, with the ocean to the South and the mountains to the North. However, if I absolutely had to choose, I would pick the mountains because I never feel more free than when I am hiking or camping in the forest. I do love the California beaches, but I’m a Pacific Northwest girl at heart! 

Most excited to learn about: Nonprofit work, and to gain deeper insight into how public policy can shape the lives of individuals in our communities. Additionally, I am looking forward to working with Children Now employees who can pass along valuable knowledge and introduce me to this important field of work. 

Lizzy Velthoen

Hometown: Ventura, California 

Education: California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo 

Areas of Study: Political Science (major), Sociology (minor), Women and Gender Studies (minor) 

Favorite Food: A tie between curry and sushi. 

Beaches or Mountains?: Having lived by the beach my whole life, I would probably say mountains as they feel more foreign and enticing to me, however, I will always be a beach girl at heart. 

Most excited to learn about: More about the policy landscape in California as well as better understand the nonprofit sector and its impacts on effecting policy changes. I look forward to learning under policy experts and hearing their personal experiences as well as motivations for choosing to work within this field.