Advocacy | March 28, 2023
A young woman is standing behind a table smiling at four elementary-age children in a gymnasium.
Carleton Weitz Fellows | March 14, 2023
Weitz Fellow Voices: Clarissa at Nebraska Appleseed
This is a guest blog written by one of our Weitz Fellows, Clarissa Guzmán. This blog is estimated to take 3 minutes to read.
Hello everyone! My name is Clarissa Guzmán (she/her/ella) and I am originally from Sunnyvale, California. Moving to Lincoln was definitely a big shift for me, but I have found a genuine community here and in neighboring towns, all while having the pleasure of doing meaningful work.
As a Weitz Fellow at Nebraska Appleseed, I have a few roles including being a volunteer coordinator and community organizer supporting the Health Care Access Program as well as Collective Impact Lincoln, a partnership between Nebraska Appleseed and Civic Nebraska doing advocacy around housing issues. I really appreciate the range of issues I am able to engage in and learn more about.
I really enjoy hosting and preparing for Take Action Tuesdays which are short, 30-minute virtual events that bring staff, community members, and volunteers together to learn about specific issues and how to take action together. I learned so much about city, state, and federal policy through these events. I have been getting more comfortable with calling my legislative and city officials in Nebraska and advocating for issues I’m passionate about. I had fun preparing for the Take Action Tuesday on Child Nutrition Reauthorization, also known as the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act, a legislation that would increase access to healthy meals for all students in schools. I’m grateful to learn from community advocates and my Appleseed coworkers on how policy works.
Being halfway done with my fellowship, I have reflected a lot on my next steps. These past several months, I’ve learned so much from Appleseed’s structure and culture! Something I’m taking with me as I move into my next position is making sure I find an organization that is flexible and genuinely values the health of their staff. Working as a Volunteer Coordinator has also influenced what I am looking for in my future career. I have enjoyed working with students from UNL, Wesleyan, and UNO who seek to volunteer where their passions lie. I’m exploring positions in higher education, perhaps as a liaison of some kind.
Now, onto some other fun things! I have especially loved trying out different coffee shops in town, exploring various green spaces, and visiting the State Capitol. If you’re in Lincoln, I recommend visiting one of my favorite spots, Mojava Cafe, for their breakfast pizza, frappuccinos, and iced mochas! If you’re looking for a great outdoors spot, I suggest going to Lake Holmes Park. You can go for a walk, run, or even get your hammock or a lawn chair out to admire the Nebraska sunsets in warmer weather. Lastly, make a pit stop at the Capitol for a tour (it’s free!). There is so much detail in the structure of the building and the stories behind the art pieces are incredibly intriguing.
I’ve had a blast so far! I am looking forward to the spring/summer to continue to connect with more community members and volunteers at events and festivals.