Interns Need Love Too!

IMG_2677 IMG_4992The New Year has been a whirl wind of activity for many social work interns placed through the COC. My placement with Feeding America San Diego (FASD) has been equally dynamic and full of activity! FASD takes great pride in their intern program. Our intern office, as we sometimes call the “bull pen”, is jammed with students working on nutrition education, prepping for healthy cooking demos in the community, and CalFresh case management. FASD definitely takes time to appreciate and recognize how many dedicated hours of work each intern puts in that directly supports our mission to “Feed the hungry. Advocate. Educate.”

On February 14th to “show love” for all the interns we had a big meeting where they provided professional development tips, interns shared about the programs they are working on, and various awards were handed out. We were also given a full spread lunch from Chipotle and dessert from Yogurtland…yum. To my surprise I was given the “Up For Anything (with Relish) Award” in which they wanted to show appreciation for diving in and trying anything that needed to be done. I want to thank FASD who has provided a learning environment that gives us interns the liberty to be able to just “dive in” and try new experiences.

For example, I got to perform a live healthy cooking demonstration at one of our monthly food distributions! This is where we prepare a simple healthy recipe with ingredients that individuals receive in their food bags. We also provide the recipe in the food bag in Spanish and English. I had a blast making apple oatmeal and chatting about how whole grains are nutritious for various health reasons.

Our interns are loved and I am excited for the next community development intern that has the opportunity to work with this amazing organization next year!

Alicia Magallanes
COC/Feeding America Intern


Youth-Friendly Toolkit

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The Consensus Organizing Center has received a $30,000 grant from Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, Inc. to create a youth-friendly toolkit that will be a guide and means of how youth in foster care can use Consensus Organizing to implement long-lasting changes in their communities.

This grant kicks off with a state wide Atlanta, GA EmpowermMEnt training lead by Jessica Robinson and Jennifer Martinez in November.

The Center is excited to partner with these two reputable youth empowerment organizations.

COC Welcomes 2013-2014 SDSU Interns

The Consensus Organizing Center is proud to introduce our 2013-2014 SDSU MSW Community Development Track and Undergraduate Interns. Welcome Anne, Alicia, Rebecca, William, Valeria and Bobbie Jo! We are so excited to have you as part of our team.  Read all about them and their internship activities at the COC webpage:

Anne VollmanAlicia MorrisRebecca LucierWilliam RochaValeria GarciaBobbie Jo Yarbrough

Volunteer Opportunity

lHave you ever wanted to try your hand at Consensus Organizing? Now’s your chance.

The Consensus Organizing Center (COC) has a volunteer opportunity for a social work undergraduate or graduate student interested in gaining additional community organizing skills in a real, non-traditional social work setting. The Encinitas library is interested in engaging the homeless population in their programming and offering services to this population based on their individual needs and self-interest. This opportunity would allow the student to work with the COC and the Encinitas Library as we engage the homeless patrons and the library community around this issue.

Work will begin in July and is expected to last throughout the fall semester. Work will take place at the Encinitas library location.

Interested students should contact COC Executive Director, Jessica Robinson directly at

COC Intern earns SDSU Alumni Association Scholarship

aliciaWhen Alicia Morris graduates in May, her commencement will mark the end of a nine-year quest for a college degree. The 33-year-old social work major, originally from Moline, Illinois, has been taking classes since 2004 with the hope of becoming a community organizer serving impoverished areas.

Alicia Morris attended a SDSU Alumni Association board meeting to personally thank alumni for her $3,000 Alumni Association scholarship.  “I’ve chosen that focus because I prefer doing hands-on, grass roots work,” she said. “I’m passionate about the community and I love working at a large level.”

Morris is one of three SDSU students selected last semester to receive scholarships from the SDSU Alumni Association. She stopped by the February 21 Alumni Association board of directors meeting with a basket of granola bars to offer thanks for her $3,000 award.

“The gratitude is immense,” said Morris, who told board members she intends to become a lifetime member of the Alumni Association and to someday help fund scholarships for SDSU students. For years she worked full time, taking night classes and studying during lunch breaks and on weekends, only recently quitting her job to complete her degree after getting accepted at SDSU.

“It’s been a long time – a loooong time,” Morris said. “I moved here when I was 21. I had $200 in my pocket and I had one friend. I went nine months without a car. I carpooled, got my job and then all I wanted to do was get into the university.

“I would drive by San Diego State and think, ‘Wow, I wonder what it’s like to be there?’ When I got that acceptance letter that I could transfer in, oh, my God! I tear up now just thinking about it because it’s so important.”

Alicia will graduate May 17th with her BSW and will begin her MSW program this summer at SDSU.

Congratulations Alicia!

Take me out to the ballgame…

imagesPlease join the SDSU undergraduate students for their second annual Padres game fundraiser! Proceeds will go to the Consensus Organizing Center and Dreams for Change. We will have a group of 100 in a private section near the Western Metal Supply building! Join us for the chance to win some Padres giveaways. The 98 t-shirt is just one of the prizes that will be raffled off during the game.

Here is the ticket info: Sunday, May 5th, CINCO DE MAYO, at 1:10 pm at Kona Cove . The tickets are the $50 all you can eat seats, which includes hot dogs, veggie dogs, bottled water, bottled soda, and fresh popped popcorn. Food service (hot dogs) begins once gates open up and concludes an hour after first pitch, but popcorn and drinks will still be available. If you would like to pay by check or debit/credit card, please call/text for more information. TRISH (619) 395-5679

YAY for trays!


Yay for trays! It’s a cheesy, fun name but it also holds important meaning for a group of students at Rosa Parks Elementary. Over the course of the school year a group of students have taken lead responsibility for planning and organizing the recycling of 900 student lunch trays. This student-led group has had a real impact on lunchtime at its school.

It was apparent to everyone that something needed to be done about the lunch trays. The custodial staff was frustrated by trays being thrown and stuffed in trash cans, the principal was concerned because food ended up on the ground potentially causing kids to slip and fall, teachers attempted to create order among the students disposing of trays but needed to get out to recess duty, and kids ended up with food and ketchup on pretty much everything, including themselves.

A large group of children volunteered to be part of a group to help with trays, but a large portion eventually lost interest or were just plain grossed out by the leftovers from other peoples’ lunches. Who remained were five kids that really enjoyed helping, creating, and leading the Yay for Trays! group. Several ideas for how to address the tray issue were discussed, and after several weeks of some trial and error, the current system was solidified. Members rotate positions each week, two students stack trays on a small cart, another regulates the number of kids allowed to stack trays at one time, and, lastly, another member is responsible for ensuring no safety issues from spilt food arise. The whole feel of lunchtime has shifted from chaos and frustration to order and high fives, and the group has received praise from teachers and staff alike. And more importantly (to them), they are now the coolest group at school.

Go YAY for Trays!

Rebecca McDaniel, 2012-2013 Community Development Intern