Guest Blog by Alijhen Rosado, Advocacy Intern
I had the pleasure of interning with the Policy and Advocacy team at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity during this year’s legislative session. During my five months with Habitat, I was able to meet and work with amazing people around the state who are advocating for the full spectrum of housing needs. Being part of coalition meetings with non-profits and other agencies from across Minnesota allowed me to learn about many housing issues. I will take many lessons away from this experience that I am grateful for which would not have been possible without the opportunity to work with Twin Cities Habitat through the Capitol Pathways program.
When I started, I knew I wanted to talk with as many people in the field as possible. I just graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities at the end of the fall semester and I wanted to explore careers related to policy and advocacy. In our current times, it has been increasingly important to use our individual voices to speak up and advocate for the needs of our communities. Because of this, I felt it was important to learn more about our legislative system and find ways to work within and alongside the government. I did not know that I would meet so many supportive people that wanted to help me and I was excited to learn and soak up as much knowledge as possible.
I thank Greta Gaetz and Julia Hobart of Twin Cities Habitat's Advocacy Team for the support they have given me during my experience and feedback that has helped me learn. They continued to make themselves available to me, answer any question I had, and encourage me to pursue anything I want knowing they would be there as a resource for me. I am extremely happy to have had the opportunity to work with them and everyone else on the Habitat team because of the great welcoming environment they provided. While this experience was all remote and I wasn’t able to be in person, I am happy that I was able to volunteer on a Habitat build site.
While the majority of Alijhen's work was virtual, he was glad to be able to spend some time at a Habitat home build.
Doing a virtual internship was hard at times because of the remote aspect. But it was a product of the times we are currently in and I thought of it as a unique experience to see how we are all adapting. I was surprised that remote work would provide me with additional benefits, such as being able to (virtually) attend Habitat on the Hill - DC 2021. At this conference, I was able to learn about affordable homeownership at the state and federal levels. One of the biggest highlights of my experience was being able to advocate for Habitat at the national level in lawmaker meetings. Meeting legislative assistants and senators who have the power to make the change we hope to see was shocking because I never imagined I would have that opportunity.
As I reflect on my experience with Habitat for Humanity as a Policy and Advocacy Intern, I am thankful to have had the opportunity with such an amazing organization like Habitat for Humanity. I can say nothing but positive things about my experience and the people I have met along my journey and I am truly grateful for the opportunity Capitol Pathways has given me. I hope to use this experience to continue to advocate for my communities within our legislature and maybe even work in it.
Thank you to Alijhen Rosado for your excellent work as Twin Cities Habitat's Advocacy Intern! Stay up to date on how you can raise your voice for affordable housing by signing up for Advocacy Action Alerts.