A New Perspective for Social Change

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Lauro Cons:
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It’s hard for me to believe that 2014 is almost over. This past year has been filled with so many challenges, and even more successes. I have found most value in the events that have allowed me to grow as a nonprofit professional, and as an agent of social change. The most notable experience this year has been to establish the Foster Youth Investment Coalition, and to work with Senator Norma Torres to pass Senate Bill 1252 into law. It was a great personal and team accomplishment to have Governor Brown sign this bill that would provide housing support for former foster youth who are pursuing a college degree. To finally have this happen took more than a year-long commitment from many individuals and organizations, but eventually proved fruitful for everyone involved.
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I have always worked with nonprofit organizations and have been involved with grassroots community efforts. I have been accustomed to working with one at-risk youth at a time, one family at a time, or one community at a time. Those experiences were great and worthwhile, where I know I made a positive impact in many individuals’ lives. But, through my experience in working with the state legislature, I have come to understand that being involved in civic engagement activities, and practicing lobbying and advocacy strategies, can have an even broader impact. I have found a new appreciation for grassroots efforts, where it excites me to know that the same tactics can be applied to make changes at the “grass-tops” level, through the state government.
Although it has been exciting, I am not sure if I have found a new calling to work in politics. What I have gained through my experiences as a USD student, with my team members, and working with a State Senator, is an understanding how to create mass social change. You don’t exclusively have to be a grassroots community activist, or a fancy politician. You just need to have the courage and the heart to continue pursuing your passions to accomplish a goal that is worthwhile for yourself, and the communities around you. Let’s see what 2015 has to offer for all of us. Bring it on!

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