Over the summer I was the Policy Leadership Academy (PLA) Intern at Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV). Resources for Independence Central Valley is a non-profit/community benefit organization that serves people with disabilities. Resources for Independence Central Valley’s (RICV) Mission is “Encouraging people with disabilities to be in control of their lives and live more independently through a diverse range of choices and opportunities.” RICV serves in five counties: Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Madera and Merced

As the Policy Leadership Academy intern I was able to get hands on experience. I was under the Systems Change Advocate Charity Tokash and she took me to three legislative and government office visits. We went to the offices of Arambula, Patterson, and the Fresno Chambers of Commerce. This was a great, it was my first time going to a legislative office and meeting with their staff. It showed me the importance of networking and building relationships with government.

I primarily researched, developed, and wrote grants for my internship. This was important because I am trying to help RICV develop and implement a new Leadership Academy, the Policy Leadership Academy. I called people asking for in-kind donations and I helped package the wine bottles for RICV’s Annual Dinner. I also did administrative and other tasks as assigned. Part of the internship was me participating in the Community Leadership Academy on 3 consecutive Saturdays: July 22nd, July 29th, and August 5th. On Wednesday July, 26th I was able to attend a Worry-Free Advocacy conference for non-profits put together by Alliance for Justice.

I really enjoyed my time at RICV. I feel like I developed new skill and enhanced the skills I already had. Interning at RICV I feel like I developed personally, it gave me a new perspective on life. The staff of RICV and the consumers RICV serves are great and made me feel welcomed. I just want to thank RICV and Charity for letting me be there Policy Leadership Academy Intern.