Maria Shriver Visits LIFT-Los Angeles
This May, we graciously welcomed Maria Shriver into the LIFT-Los Angeles office. Maria Shriver is the daughter of Sargent Shriver, who founded anti-poverty programs like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA. Today, she is a renowned journalist and social activist who advocates for low-income families, especially women and children. Maria came into the LIFT-LA office to meet her Shriver Fellows Raisa Ma, Julie Jimenez, and Ana Resner, and to see what day-to-day life is like in the LIFT office.
Maria came into our office full of big ideas – ideas on how to solve the most complex issues that our community members currently face. She reflected on the work of her father, Sargent Shriver, and his innovative idea of using National Service as a strategy to address poverty in the United States. Maria believes we need to continue creating effective solutions to uplift marginalized communities. She intentionally asked staff, fellows, and Advocates for ideas on how we can improve the service we provide to our Members. Because poverty is a complicated, multi-faceted issue, it’s going to take collaboration and big ideas to solve it.
Soon after Maria spoke to each Shriver Fellow about their specific role, she approached a Member who had just finished filling out his CV survey. She was eager to hear about his experience firsthand and how our services have connected him to needed resources. Maria continued her inquiry with our Advocates and staff by raising the question, “what is the most pressing issue you witness your Members facing?” Our Advocates were quick to vocalize several issues their Members face – from immigration and age discrimination in the workforce, to the difficulty of finding affordable housing. After listening to the challenges that our Members and Advocates face, Maria reflected on the need for real social policy change to help resolve these issues permanently.
Maria’s work is driven by her belief that all of us have the ability to be what she calls “Architects of Change”. Our impact as Shriver Fellows would not be possible without the partnership with Maria Shriver and a Woman’s Nation. Maria reinvigorated our spirit of commitment – to live a life of service – the same spirit that Sargent Shriver hoped to leave behind.
The Shriver Corps is a once-in-a-generation cohort of AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteers committed to helping people across the United States lift themselves out of poverty for good. The program is a collaboration between LIFT, Maria Shriver’s A Woman’s Nation, and AmeriCorps, and was created to honor the legacy of Sargent Shriver, the founder of the landmark VISTA program.
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