Host Agency: Self-Help Enterprises
University: California State University of Bakersfield
Valeria Veliz graduated in 2020 from the California State University of Bakersfield with a B.A. in CAFS - Child, Adolescents, & Family Studies and a double minor in Criminal Justice and Religious Studies. She was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico and migrated to the United States when she was three years old. Her family resided in Bakersfield, CA where her dad worked as a farm worker and her mother was a stay at home mom taking care of her and her two siblings. Bakersfield has been her home for the past twenty three years and has witnessed the challenging obstacles that her family and other members of her community have encountered due to their language barriers and lack of representation in their community.
From a young age Valeria recalls advocating for her parents and herself when it came to issues of social inequality. During her undergraduate years at CSUB she was heavily involved in a student group UNIR- United Now for Immigrant Rights, where she advocated for undocumented students and families. She became a student leader for Dreamers at CSUB, Treasurer of UNIR, and subsequently a Dreamer delegate to Washington, D.C., in 2019 for a week-long trip sponsored by the California-Mexico Studies Center (CMSC) in Long Beach, CA. As a student leader of UNIR, she participated in many community activities, collaborated with other organizations in the Central Valley such as, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA), strongly advocating for immigrant rights over the past years. Her involvement in advocacy work allowed her to meet many individuals who experienced social inequality/ injustice and the negative repercussions that occur in diverse communities because of it.
Valeria has experience working for Real Estate Agencies, where she developed skills and knowledge pertaining to the home ownership process. She was able to establish long lasting relationships with Real Estate professionals, clients, and vendors. This experience also introduced her to the inequality of home ownership for members of diverse communities and the lack of resources available to those individuals in regards to housing. She was able to understand the importance of affordable housing and the impact it can have on families and children.
Valeria is excited to be a part of the internship program for California Coalition for Rural Housing and interning with Self- Help Enterprises to continue her advocacy work and acquire more knowledge on affordable housing. One of her future milestones is to start her own organization helping individuals from low-income, homeless youth, LGBTQ and diverse communities. This opportunity will help her understand the process and build a network with professionals who can help guide her to reach that goal. She hopes to further her ability to serve her society and develop professionally to become a source of representation for people in her local community.