IRC’s Riverside School Age West unit was recently honored by the Riverside County Office of Education. They were presented a Partner Award for their service work at Nuview North Elementary School. We caught up with Program Manager Felicia Valencia to learn about her team and their awesome service project!
Amelia Maldonado (AM) Felicia, congratulations to you and your team. Can you tell us about the award your team received?
Felicia Valencia (FV): Thank you. Yes. My team and I were invited to a luncheon where we received an award for our volunteer work at Nuview North Elementary. We worked with Nuview North students who have elevated needs based on their disabilities as well as medically fragile students. The Partner Award was presented to us by the Riverside County Office of Education’s Division of Student Programs and Services.
AM: Tell us about the awards ceremony.
FV: The awards ceremony was held on June 28, 2019, at the Riverside County Office of Education’s conference center. I felt very honored to be recognized alongside other great organizations such as Lakeshore Learning, Vons grocery stores, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, UC Riverside, and several other non-profits.
AM: You were recognized as for your service in the community. What was your service project?
FV: My team and I visited Nuview North Elementary School over the holiday season. During our visit, we sang and read to the kids, we handed out toys and goodies and did an arts and crafts project. It was a lot of fun. We enjoyed it so much we hope to make this an annual event!
AM: That sounds fantastic! How did you get involved with Nuview North?
FV: My team and I decided to plan a community project last year in hopes of increasing our presence in the community we serve. We also saw it as an opportunity to build a better rapport with the school district, an entity that we work closely with. We chose this school in particular because it is in an underserved area of Perris.
AM: Why do you think it is so meaningful to be involved in service projects that are considered “above and beyond” what we do here at the Regional Center?
FV: There is a quote by Cheryl A. Esplin that I like but I feel is also very fitting. It says, “service doesn’t have to be big and grandiose to be meaningful and make a difference.” We had such a great time with our consumers! Never did we imagine that our project would resonate and make such a big impression with the families, the teachers, and even district administrators. That was not our intention. It goes to show that gestures need not be extravagant to make a difference.
AM: It sounds like you have a great team with a heart for service. Tell me about them!
FV: I have a wonderful team. My department consists of 14 Consumer Services Coordinators (CSCs), a Consumer Support Tech (CST-3), and myself. We are a fun, positive, and energetic group. My team is also very giving of themselves and their time! We are considered a fairly “new” team by IRC standards. Most of my CSCs have been with the agency or working in this department an average of 2 years. Another reason we planned a community outreach project was to better acquaint ourselves with the community and partnering agencies.
AM: Can you tell our readers about the role of a School Age unit, specifically your team?
FV: Our department is called the Riverside School Age West Unit or RSAW for short. We work with school age consumers, ages 3-16yrs., in the cities of Perris, Corona, Eastvale, and Norco. We provide case management, advocacy, and coordinate services for our consumers and their families in their area of coverage.
AM: Thank you so much Felicia, for sharing your story with me and our readers.
Share this Post