Jackelin served as a MSW II social work intern from Sept. 2014 – May. 2015. Now, she works as a Community Organizer at Placer People of Faith Together [PPOFT]. She does organizing for the nonprofit’s Pathway to Citizenship and Immigration Reform Program as well as the Get on the Bus Program.
In her position, Jackelin is the mastering the art of advocating for and mobilizing communities to fight for change.
“I’ve learned about the power of social justice and how important it is to stand up for what you believe in and the power of many people coming together to create change,” Jackelin said.
She discovered the position at PPOFT through Joe Offer, a volunteer at Wellspring and was offered the job while she was still an intern at Wellspring.
PPOFT partners with other area nonprofits and various faith communities to educate people who are undocumented about the services that they can access, build relationships with law enforcement officers and advocate for their rights.
The Get on the Bus program brings children to visit their incarcerated parents in facilities across California around Father’s Day and Mother’s day.
More than 200,000 children in California have at least one parent who is incarcerated. These children must live with the heartache of being separated from their parents — sometimes for their entire childhood.
Prisons can be up to 100 miles away from an inmate’s home community.
For many children, this day is their only opportunity to see, touch and hug their parents — many are low-income and often lack the money, transportation and time to visit the prison where their parent is living.
The visit is for four hours. The day is lively and a celebration for the temporarily reunited parents and children. The Get on the Bus Program provides free meals to and from the prison, face-paint and craft activities for parents and children during their visitation.
Jackelin reflected that she has taken many of the skills that she honed at Wellspring to her role as a community organizer.
“Wellspring will be always dear to my heart,” she said. “What helped me so much is the listening skills that I honed here. What I learned here was how to be grounded and how to be very attentive to what others are saying.”
It has also taught her about the power of community.
“I see the power in community,” Jackelin said.”We are all seeking a bond – that relationship and that connection with others and I think that Wellspring does a really good job of providing that safe place for guests to unite and to create friendships that last a lifetime. You know it is amazing that the guests are always welcome here. There is a lot of warmth and a lot of love.”
“Wellspring means a second family and acceptance to me,” she said. “I feel loved not only by the staff, but by the guests too. They are really welcoming. It is just a loving environment.”
“One of the guests has been coming here for 13 years,” she said. “She has been coming here because if she stays at home, she feels depressed. It motivates her day by day. It gives her a purpose. It gives her that drive to wake up, get up get ready, to go along with her day and to walk to Wellspring for breakfast. It is part of her lifestyle – that connection and sense of community.”
“Wellspring has taught me to appreciate the simple things and the importance of being there with people and making them feel acknowledged and listened to,” she said. “It’s a place where guests can come and have their first meal of the day which sometimes is their only meal of the day.”
“One of the guests told me before I left, ‘It’s an honor for me to get to know you and to have the opportunity to see you and build on that relationship,” Jackelin said. ” … She gave me a blessing and said, “May god bless you abundantly.”