This week we got a visit from Shari Davis, the acting co-director of the Public Policy Institute of Santa Monica College. During her trip on the Hill, she came to visit me at my internship. I got the pleasure to meet the amazing Ana Jara who is the coordinator for the Youth and Family Services Support and Aketa Williams from Spitfire Strategies. We only got to talk for a couple of minutes because I had a training to attend and they had meetings with both Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris.
Fortunately, Shari kindly invited me to attend the briefing in the capitol, as well as the rest of the dale ride interns, regarding community driven projects in Santa Monica. Attending the panel was very insightful on the impact local community organizations can have on its population when working with local government. Learning about programs like the Wellbeing program and all the work they’ve done for the Santa Monica Community motivates me to organize and create a change for marginalized communities.
I really enjoyed the panel discussion and Ana’s presentation. The issues that really resonated with me was the lack of kindergarten readiness, with only 30 percent of children actually being prepared to attend school. From my own lived in experience, I know how difficult it can be to thrive in an education system that was not built for everyone to succeed. At the panel, I learned how community wide campaigns can lead to tangible change.
Working with students as a tutor in my neighborhood, high school and at Santa Monica college, I saw the hard work students put into their classes, only struggling because their schools did not provide the support they needed. I hope to one day be able to help marginalized communities at a larger scale, creating an equitable environment were no student can fall behind.