Alliance San Diego is pleased to welcome Daniela Wong into our family for the summer and introduce her into the world of social justice and advocacy.
A 20-year-old International Affairs major from San Diego, Daniela is a rising Junior who attends George Washington University. Currently, she serves as a Co-President of Kusala, a tutoring and college-ready program that benefits high school students from low-income families who have failed out of school or have been expelled. Through her work with this program, she hosts recreational and education-based events for students in addition to providing support to gain access to higher education.
1. Why did you decide to intern with Alliance San Diego?
One of my friends actually interned with ASD last summer. She spoke very highly about her experience with the organization. After talking to her and doing more research, it seemed like it was going to be more of a hands-on internship, so I applied.
2. What connects you to the issues that Alliance San Diego cares about?
ASD does a lot of work with immigrants especially Latino communities, which is close to me because I am half-Mexican and half-Chinese. I have many friends and family in the immigrant community, and folks I interact with on a daily basis. When I saw how much you all were doing to lift up immigrant families, through naturalization and informational services, I realized there was an opportunity for me to help as well.
3. How do you see this internship helping your overall career goals?
I think one thing I’ve learned so far in this internship and interacting with everyone is, you all are so open and talkative. You aren’t afraid to speak your mind, I’m a pretty shy person and being here as brought me out of my shell and it pushes me to use my voice, ask questions, and just be vocal. I can apply that to anything in my life.
4. What has surprised you most about working with Alliance?
Everyone is so nice! You all have been so welcoming. Everyone is so down to earth and just themselves. Coming from past internships where everyone is so cold and removed, being around you all is just amazing.
5. What do you find most challenging about Alliance?
I think ASD as a whole is fighting so many great causes, but there are so many barriers blocking success. On many occasions where I have accompanied staff to events or meetings, and the only thing stopping you from achieving your goal is politics and it can be frustrating, the walls people put up that you have to overcome are a lot to take on.
6. What's the best/worst thing to happen since you started working with Alliance?
Best thing is meeting everyone… working with Diamond, and Eryn, Andrew, and Chris on a daily basis. I’m just learning so much. You all have opened my mind to a whole new world, I go home every day and talk to my mom about what I learned. When she has questions that I may not have the answers to, I know I can rely on the ASD team to help me find the answer.
Worst thing, eating salad every day lol.
7. What would you tell someone who is thinking about interning with Alliance?
I would say come in with a very open mind and be ready to learn. Be open to learning how to understand different communities. I come from two very different cultures in my family and getting the opportunity to learn about more other cultures I am not a part of is very cool, it helps me understand how other people think and provides insight into what they are going through, that is such a privilege. So just be open.
8. What do you think will change about Alliance over the next five years?
I think the people you outreach to will grow as you share information and engage them. I also think that what we saw this past year with the election, more folks get that you can’t be silent, you can’t stay at home inactive, you have to be involved. That alone is going to cause ASD to take an even bigger leap into community engagement.
9. What's your personal philosophy on what should be done about the issues Alliance works on?
Continue in the process you started. Getting the community involved is key, I think all issues are bigger than one person and or one group of people and the more we engage people the more the change will happen.