PublicSquare COVID-19 Equity Internship Project

Empowering a diverse group of first-generation college students to create culturally and linguistically relevant deliverables to serve those most adversely impacted by COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County
The PublicSquare COVID-19 Equity Internship Project empowers a diverse group of first-generation college students to create culturally and linguistically relevant deliverables to serve those most adversely impacted by COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County.

The Project utilizes personal experience and interests, cultural identity, languages spoken, academic expertise, and career goals to create and deliver insightful targeted outreach that increases access to medical, mental health and wellness, and economic resources and helps stop the disproportionate spread of COVID-19 among marginalized communities. Our diverse group of student interns attend UC Santa Barbara, SBCC, Allan Hancock College, and Carpinteria High School, and speak Cantonese, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Mixteco, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese as either their first or second language.

Interns conduct primary and secondary research independently, in small groups, and as part of public-nonprofit community collaborative networks currently working to fill systemic gaps created by socioeconomic, racial, legal, cultural, linguistic, and other disparities.

As Reopening Ambassadors, interns receive training in Psychological First Aid to care for themselves and others in trauma and to support safe reopening practices in public, private, and nonprofit environments. They also help create culturally sensitive materials for outreach to our County’s Indigenous, Latinx, Black, Asian and other low-income underrepresented and otherwise hard to reach communities who are in dire need of accurate information and who are suffering disproportionately from COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Santa Barbara County.

As Technology Ambassadors, interns design innovative means of information delivery to teach new skills and help bridge the digital divide for COVID-related needs.

All of the work performed by the interns supports the Latinx and Indigenous Migrant COVID-19 Health Response Task Force representing over 60 community-based organizations and involves a direct partnership with SB County’s Departments of Public Health, Behavioral Wellness, and others as collaborations and partnerships continue to expand.

Project Administrator

Dana Wallock, Public Square Director of Programs & Public Affairs

Project Coordinator & Advisor

​Lisa Valencia Sherratt, Santa Barbara County 1st District Office Representative; advising on navigating the coordination of CBOs and public agencies, coordinating delivery systems to low-income COVID-19 positive families, and identifying other internship opportunities and trainings

Project Co-Sponsors

SB County 1st District Supervisor Das Williams

SB County 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino

Santa Barbara Response Network

Catholic Charities of Santa Maria

Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade

Project Partnerships

Latinx and Indigenous Migrant COVID-19 Health Response Task Force

LIMC HRTF Mental Health Outreach and Messaging Group

LIMC HRTF Farmworker Workgroup

City of Santa Maria

City of Santa Barbara

Mi Vida, Mi Voz

SB County Community Wellness Team’s Reopening Ambassador Program

Corporate Co-Sponsors

This project is made possible in part through grants from:

The COVID-19 Joint Response Effort, a countywide funders and donors collaborative, led by
the Santa Barbara Foundation,
Hutton Parker Foundation,
& United Way of Santa Barbara County

The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation,
Poomer Fund – Anne Smith Towbes,
Williams-Corbett Foundation,
& the Zegar Family Foundation