disABILITY LINK/AAPD Summer Intern

disABILITY LINK/AAPD Summer Intern

Cierra Reid

About me:
Hello, my name is Cierra Reid. I am an entrepreneur and a leader and an advocate for the mental health community. I am self-motivated and a well-organized individual. I offer over 6 years of experience working in customer service, where I learned the responsibility to manage accounting and finances. I am skilled in clerical duties and I was trained in Microsoft Office and in Word. I am a certified CDL driver, trained in transportation and public safety. I am a creative, unique hairstylist and I master in natural hairstyles and braids. I enjoy fashion and I am also a runway fashion model. I recently have been trained in public speaking and in peer support.
I am interning with the Council Members YT Bell and Andrea Cervone at the City of Clarkston. TIME magazine called Clarkston, “The most diverse square mile in America.” In everything I do, I truly enjoy advocating for mental health awareness and disability rights. I have marched in the Martin Luther King Jr Day parade and made personal visits to the Capitol in Atlanta, where I was able to meet and to speak with representatives to better educate then about the disability community.

I have been chosen to participate in The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Summer Internship Program. AAPD is located in Washington DC has now partnered with disABILITY LINK located in Atlanta. Each summer, since 2002, APPD has selected college students, with all types of disabilities, for a 10-week summer internship program to help develop the next generation leaders in the disability community. Each intern is provided a mentor.

The 5Ws:
What – Clarkston is noted for its ethnic diversity, and is often referred to as, “the most diverse square mile in America”

Where – Located in DeKalb County, Georgia, surrounded by Atlanta, Decatur, and Stone Mountain, off highway 285, the city has a total area of 1.1 square miles, “if you’re anything like me you need directions by landmarks, north of the DeKalb farmers market”

When – The City of Clarkston was officially chartered by Governor Alexander H. Stevens on December 12, 1882. Clarkston was named in honor of Colonel W.W. Clarkston.

Who – With a population of 7,554 people, this very small diverse city has received over 40,000 refugees over the past 25 years.

Why – The City of Clarkston is calling for a special meeting to discuss the impact of Trump’s immigration ban which could impact the refugees’ residents of Clarkston.

My first -hand exposure and experience in the working environment:
My first thought when I was told that I will be interning at the City of Clarkston, “I told myself this should be easy because I had a similar internship opportunity back when Ms. Shirley Franklin was Mayor when I had participated in Youth Program in The City of Atlanta. But since the start of my internship, I have been forced to challenge myself to grow in my professional life and personal life, here are the top 2 valuable lessons I have learned;
1.) Assets Map of Clarkston. Asset mapping gathers information about the strengths and resources in a community, and provides information and can help uncover the solution. My duty as an intern was to create a spreadsheet of the local business and resources.
2.) Community Outreach. Two days out the week I go into the community to identify the local needs and issues, and inform residents of events and resource in the community. I was able to learn how to establish a relationship with the community, so we can share ideas and work together to achieve the goal of a thriving community!

Examples of some of my activities
Door-to-door advocacy
General advertising
Organizing community meetings

Some of the skills I learned
Interpersonal skills
Communication skills
Language skills
Ability to adapt to the community interests

Overall this has been a great opportunity for me! My internship with the City of Clarkston taught me much more than I can even imagine, I was faced with some challenges and I was also able to improve my skills. I learned that being a part of a community is truly about everyone coming together as one.

I would like to thank APPD, disABILITY LINK, and the City of Clarkston, I will always remember this great opportunity in my journey of life.


People with disabilities have the right to be independent, make decisions for themselves, have access to their community and to achieved goals in life like any other individual. disABILITY LINK is committed to promoting the rights of ALL people with disabilities.
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