As our Annual Capitol Internship & Scholarship Awards Banquet is approaching us, I can’t help but think back to 2008 when I was awarded a scholarship from APAPA.
As a starving college student tired of increasing tuition and fees, my biggest focus was getting any money to pay for college. My goal was short-term. I didn’t think about how it would truly affect my life outside of college.
Thinking back, without that scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to intern that Fall semester for Assemblyman Dave Jones. Without that internship (and no one was hiring!), I wouldn’t have landed my first real job out of college at a boutique public relations firm in Sacramento. If you think about it, that scholarship helped get me a job!
I don’t recall much from the banquet except for making an unprepared speech to thank APAPA, its sponsors and, of course, my parents. I just went for the food and certificate. I never thought I’d ever see or hear from APAPA much, if ever.
Four years later, I’m a new and devoted member on APAPA’s Board of Directors. Not only do APAPA’s goals and missions align with my beliefs, but it does a fantastic job of ensuring the Asian and Pacific Islander American community has representation in the political, social and economic world. After I graduated in 2009, I realized how much the community has helped me get to where I am today. It was my turn to give back.
Giving back through an organization that helped me is very rewarding – and a great story to tell. I use my knowledge and skills to help with what I can – writing, marketing, media relations and event planning.
The first event I volunteered to help plan is the biggest event for APAPA each year – Voters Education and Candidates Forum. I obtained free advertisement on Clear Channel’s electronic billboard on Highway 50 by California State University, Sacramento. The Forum was held at CSU, Sacramento in 2010. At the Forum, I managed the backstage and ensured that every elected official and candidate was present and ready to make their speech to over 2,000 attendees. It was amazing and touching to see the community’s overwhelmingly appreciative response to the Forum.
Now it’s your turn to take action.
For all the recipients of 2012 Capitol Internship & Scholarship Awards, I only ask one thing of you. Give back. Give back to an organization and community that helped you move onwards and upwards.