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On March 7, 2018, California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH) celebrated its Rural West Internship Program for Diversity in Nonprofit Housing and Community Development 20th Anniversary, and graduates of the intern class of 2017 – 2018. Thirteen interns from across California, Oregon and Washington state were honored for their successful participation in the challenging year-long program. The event was attended by over 100 guests, including CCRH Board Members, program alumni, host agency directors, intern supervisors, program supporters, and interns’ families. The festivities took place at Cafeteria 15 L, a contemporary American restaurant in Downtown Sacramento.
The celebration was an evening of joy, savory food, and inspirational speakers. “I felt so inspired by all the speeches of perseverance. I hope this isn’t the last time I feel so moved and inspired by other’s stories,” commented Sandra Torres, intern graduate. Vanessa Guerra, program alum, Vice-Chair of CCRH’s Internship Program Advisory Committee and CCRH Board of Director, served as a very dynamic Master of Ceremony for the event. Whitney Bonner, the Intern Class Speaker, gave a humorous and inspiring account of her cohort’s internship experience throughout this past year. She was followed by Keynote Speaker Councilmember Eric Guerra – City of Sacramento, District 6. A young leader himself coming from a farmworker background experiencing the lack of habitable affordable housing when growing up, he gave a very personal and inspiring speech motivating our young interns and young people in general to be the voice needed in our communities and be the change we want to see. His personal experience and support for affordable housing and community development resonated with interns and alumni alike. California State Assemblymember and housing champion David Chiu made an improvised appearance and speech congratulating our interns and motivating them to continue to contribute to our field. Rich Ciraulo, Internship Program Advisory Committee Chair provided a brief history of the program highlighting the initial efforts of Ana Baiz-Torres, Program Founder to lunch what is now a successful internship program model with 171 graduates and achieved retention rate of 50% in the last decade. He also introduced a video of internship program alumni testimonials.
Wilson Vang, graduate of the 2014 – 2015 class of interns provided a personal and moving testimonial. To conclude the evening, Matt Huerta, program alum, Internship Program Advisory Committee and CCRH Board of Director recognized and presented an award to former Advisory Committee Members Peggy Jen, Senior Program Officer of LISC Bay Area, and Julio Lamas, internship program graduate of the class of 2009 – 2010.
At the ceremony, Rob Wiener, Executive Director of CCRH extended special thanks and presented a program photo album to funders Bank of America, NeighborWorks America, Meyer Memorial Trust, Rural LISC, RCAC, and Wells Fargo Bank. We also thank our event’s sponsors Rabobank, US Bank, and host agencies. Heartfelt thanks from Gisela Salgado, program alum and Internship Program Director to all individual donors, who support the program through pro-bono training and financial donations.
For more information about CCRH, visit them online.