My time at Leadership Counsel–Blog by Odalys Beltran, intern

Hi everyone! 

This is Odalys, a Health Careers Connection sponsored intern at Leadership Counsel For Justice and Accountability (LCJA). My blog post is the first post of many to come from the Eastern Coachella Valley (ECV) Leadership Counsel office. As someone new to the organization, I am in awe of all the hard work and dedication my peers demonstrate in their daily activities.

The ECV is a large area filled with dedicated and resilient communities who are faced with many obstacles in their day-to-day lives due to the limited infrastructure and resources in the area. The ECV is part of the Coachella Valley (CV) and Riverside County, and while Coachella is usually associated with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, there is much more to this area than this event. There are communities filled with vigor and a passion for life. The ECV office has two full-time staff, Rebecca and Lesly, who I have the pleasure of working with. The ECV is my hometown, and like Rebecca and Lesly, I was born and raised in the Coachella Valley. I left to obtain my bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara and now I am back! 

You might be asking yourself, “What does Leadership Counsel really do?”, and the answer is quite simple, we co-power with the community. LCJA is here to work with the community on a variety of policy and social justice issues. I am lucky to have been a part of that process. In my experience working with Leadership Counsel I have been able to participate in a wide range of activities; canvassing, participating in community meetings, assisting in the Transformative Climate Communities planning grant, lobbying, and much more. 

 For the first half of my internship, I was able to engage residents and work on the TCC outreach which consisted of many phone calls, door-to-door visits and community meetings. Yes, you read that right, I was conducting door-to-door outreach alongside my peers in 100-degree plus weather. LCJA does whatever is necessary in hopes of reaching as many people as possible.

If there is one thing I have learned during my internship is that with persistence and an idea founded in having a more just and equitable world, anything is possible. Maybe it is me being naive as a recently graduated Sociology major, but whatever the case, putting in the work yields results. There is nothing like being in the community and LCJA is present and active in the community in a way that is unparalleled. 

While my time at LCJA is coming to an end, it is safe to say I have enjoyed every minute of the experience. I would also like to say a special thank you to Rebecca and Lesly who have guided me during this time and have been amazing resources. While community work can sometimes be difficult and filled with various obstacles, these ladies make it look easy. These women are amazing and I cannot wait to see what they will achieve. 

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