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Riverside County student interns learn how government, nonprofit groups work

By in Press Enterprise on February 9, 2018

By Manny Otiko

A new internship program is introducing Riverside-area students to the intricacies of government and giving them a chance to serve the community.

The program is aptly called Expanding Horizons.

Tiffany Walker, coordinator of instructional innovation and support at the Riverside County Office of Education, said the program’s alternative education students focus on “civics and social impact.” Alternative education students are from disadvantaged backgrounds, on probation or have been expelled.

Some later participated in internships at government offices and local non-profit groups. Those who interned worked 60 hours over eight weeks, earning $10 an hour, Walker said. Expanding Horizons is based at the Arlington Regional Learning Center in Riverside.

In addition to learning real-life skills, students also learned about how local government works and affect them.

“We wanted to show them ‘I do have a voice and I can make a difference,’” Walker said.

John Calvario, an Expanding Horizons student, had an eye-opening experience while interning at the Riverside Mayor’s Office.

“This changed my view on government by being able to see how hard it is to help the community,” Calvario said.

He got a glimpse of what life is like in the “real world,” he said and learned valuable work skills.

“What I liked the most about my internship was the fact that I was able to see how a real-life working environment looks like,” he said. “What I learned was soft skills and life skills on how to manage time, money and real-life situations.”

The internships were paid for by the county schools office and the Constitutional Rights Foundation. The non-profit foundation teaches youths about the importance of citizenship, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

Lourdes Morales, the foundation’s senior program director, said the internships aim to help students fix problems in their communities.

“It’s important that they know they can make a difference,” Morales said. “We provided […]    

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