Leah Seupersad, 404-413-1354
ATLANTA—Alaina Reaves has had a crash course this summer in how heated politics can get in Washington, D.C.
As the U.S. legislature debated the debt ceiling crisis, Reaves has been spending the summer learning how those actions could impact children and families as a government and policy affairs intern at Voices for America's Children, one of the largest child advocacy groups in the United States.
“I’m the health intern so I deal a lot with Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and anything related to children and families dealing with access to health care,” Reaves said. “A lot of the talks have to do with the dismantling of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We focus on the Medicaid side and dealing with how this would impact children and families.”
|Alaina Reaves, a senior public policy major, spent the summer in Washington, D.C. as a government and policy affairs intern at Voices for America's Children, one of the largest child advocacy groups in the United States.|
Reaves, a senior public policy major in the Andrew Young School at Georgia State University, hopes to work at a nonprofit one day. Since she started her internship in June, she has had many duties, including working on the nonprofit’s health newsletter and taking notes at daily meetings and briefings.
“It has been going wonderfully. It’s a great organization to provide a voice for children who often times can’t speak for themselves, and aren’t often discussed in legislative talks,” Reaves said.
When Reaves isn’t working, she has been networking in the city by attending summer seminars at Georgia Washington University and joining organizations, such as African-American Women on the Hill.
But Reaves is no novice when it comes to issues dealing with children and public policy. The 22-year-old has already held a slew of internships in Atlanta, including working at the Center for Working Families, the Andrew Young Foundation and Child Kind, a nonprofit that helps families with children with disabilities.
And that list doesn’t include her community service efforts. For instance, Reaves has organized three blood drives in Atlanta since 2007, combined helping the Red Cross raise more than 100 pints of blood.
“I’m bridging the classroom learning with experience,” Reaves said. “Classes like governmental budgeting have had an effect on what I’m learning about development in a nonprofit organization, and my intro to nonprofit classes had a big effect on me knowing what I was doing when I stepped foot into any of those internships.”
Reaves passion for helping children stemmed from her experiences volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club every week in high school. But she attributes her willingness to serve to her mother.
“My mom always told us to give back,” Reaves said. “She always supported community service.”
At GSU, Reaves is the fundraising co-chair of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, a challenging position that aims to raise money for more than 90 members to attend the organization’s annual national conference. The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, which prepares students to work for nonprofits, was recognized among the winners of this year’s Carl V. Patton President's Awards.
Inta Maggie Tolan, director of the GSU NLA, says Reaves is always full of good ideas and always goes the extra mile to participate in community service events.
“She is very optimistic and excited about her public service work and future career possibilities,” Tolan said. “When I think of Alaina I think of a young lady who is doing more things with a 24-hour clock than one even thought possible.”
Aug. 1, 2011