Fellow: Lizzette Capul
Born and raised in Riverside, Lizzette Capul recently graduated with a degree in Public Policy from University of California, Riverside. She focused on social issues and health policy while earning her degree. Currently, Lizzette serves as the Public Health Community Organizer Fellow at Glocally Connected. Connected to the local community, Lizzette hopes to continue to serve in the Inland Empire, the community she proudly grew up with. In addition to her interest in the local community, Lizzette is an active member of Toastmasters International, an organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders and volunteers at the Riverside Community Hospital.
What are you looking forward to working on as a UCR CSI IE Nonprofit Fellow?
I look forward to working with the Afghanistan refugee community in the local area and the volunteers of Glocally Connected. As the organization’s Public Health Community Organizer Fellow, I am responsible for organizing public health workshops and class sessions that will educate the refugee women we serve. Education on public health practices in America will help them transition to a life in the United States. I especially look forward to organizing these sessions because I have the opportunity to connect with the Glocally Connected team, volunteers, health educators, and public health partners and better understand how different people’s backgrounds and experience contribute to a community experience. Organizing these sessions requires research and communication, skills I look forward to developing.
There are many public health practices that differ between Afghanistan and America, in addition to the cultural differences. Although I am not familiar with the cultural traditions or health practices of Afghanistan families, I am very interested in learning from this community and broadening my world view. Learning more about the community Glocally Connected serves will allow me to become more aware of the issues that affect the refugee community locally and globally.
What drew you to the UCR CSI IE Nonprofit Fellowship?
As I was completing my undergraduate degree, I realized the bulk of my experience had been working in local government, specifically an internship in the Riverside Mayor’s Office. Within my internship, I had the opportunity to chair the Purple Cities Alliance, which is an initiative to encourage the cities of Riverside and Corona to be more dementia friendly. This initiative brought together government agencies, medical providers, non-profits organizations, and other related providers to work cooperatively to educate the public about dementia and its impact. While working alongside many entities, I had come to appreciate the commitment non-profit organizations bring to the table and community, as well as the positive impact they share with those they work with. This encouraged me to consider the UCR CSI IE Nonprofit Fellowship. I found this Fellowship program appealing because it would allow me to broaden my experience and explore the nonprofit sector. Additionally, I was drawn to the program because it would allow me to gain a professional experience within the nonprofit sector after graduation.
What are you looking forward to learning about the nonprofit sector in the IE? What do you think are the most pressing needs in the region for nonprofit organizations?
I look forward to learning about the many nonprofit organizations that reside in the Inland Empire and the communities they serve and represent. The Inland Empire is unique as it made up of two very large counties in California. The communities within these counties are so diverse, from location, ethnic groups, socioeconomic status, and many others. There has to be a community can who support these populations, which I do see throughout the Inland Empire. As I continue this Fellowship program, I see many nonprofits in the Inland Empire overlap with one another in some ways. As a result, they support one another and refer the people they serve to the resources and services of other organizations, making the nonprofit sector a more united community.
There are many needs in the Inland Empire, many of which relate to health in some way. I find that the concerns that relate to public health demanding in this area. It is important to consider both the physical and mental health of any person and what factors may challenge them from having a quality healthy lifestyle. I see many organizations who offer some type of health services, whether physical or mental health services, but it could be challenging for people to afford or connect with these services. Making these health services more accessible and affordable is a would be a pressing need in the Inland Empire. Transportation to these services could make it difficult, not realizing the unhealthy environment they live in may prevent them from seeking help, or they avoid seeking help or education due to cost of services. Any combination of these factors are often reasons why a person does not seek the services existing organization already provide. What the nonprofit sector needs to provide are opportunities to help get these people to where they need to be, such an affordable transportation service, child-care, or educational workshops.
What is a little-known gem about the Inland Empire that you could share with others? What would you share about the Inland Empire with those not familiar or know little about the region?
Something special about the Inland Empire I would like to share with others is the California Citrus State Historic Park. As soon as I step out of my car, I could smell the fresh air filled with the scent of orange blossoms. Located on a hilltop in Riverside, you can view the mountains and one of the last orange groves in the area. The California Citrus State Historic Park preserves the enriching landscape of the citrus industry, which is unique to Southern California. During a visit to the California Citrus State Historic Park, you will be able to learn the importance of the citrus industry’s role in development of California many years ago. There is plenty to see and do here, such as fruit tasting, guided tours, and any of the park’s scheduled events throughout the year. There is a rich history in the Inland Empire and stopping by the California Citrus State Historic Park is the place to be to get a taste of it.
Where do you envision yourself in 5 years? What are your future career plans after this Fellowship?
I am interested in continuing my education in the coming years. In 5 years, I hope to be in a Master’s Program or have completed one by then that is related to public health. Hopefully, with a background in policy and public health I will be able to apply it to a position that addresses these areas in my local community, the Inland Empire. Furthermore, I highly value the path I have taken to develop my leadership and communication skills and intend to continue my involvement in Toastmasters in the future and apply these skills to the work I do in the community. My future career plans after completing this Fellowship consist of a career opportunity where policy and health overlap and I can further develop my professional experience.