Category Archives: Intern Projects and Experiences

Intern Writes and Illustrates a Civil Rights Book

I am Anisa, a high school summer intern at the Policy Center.  When I was in the office, a team member saw me working on a personal project and ask me to tell her about it.  To her surprise, I’m writing and illustrating a book about civil rights leaders, geared towards children. She asked me to write a little bit about the project.


Possible Cover Photo

Every year, every decade, and every era contain problems and issues, including the rights of individuals. However, with this difficulty comes people who bravely stand up for the voices of the downtrodden. In this book, I hope to showcase a variety of activists during time periods when people were working to promote political freedom and expand personal civil liberties.  The individuals profiled will represent diversity in color, race, and gender.




Malala Yousafzai, Before: I used a small black marker to draw the person and make the background designs, and then colored them in using prismacolor markers. After: I used Photoshop to color the background.

What is it?

The book tells the true stories of famous civil rights leaders, and how their actions touched the lives of many people. Accompanied with a series of bright illustrations, the biography demonstrates how anyone, no matter their background, ethnicity, or even age, can change society for the better.


Who will it feature?

Prominent figures, such as Malala Yousafzai, Mahatma Gandhi, Gloria Steinem, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Lena Horne, Joan Baez, Medgar Evers, Audre Lorde, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Harriet Tubman, and James Baldwin will be featured in the book.

Why is it important to me?

Many families, including mine, immigrated to America from another country. In the 1960s, my grandparents came from a small village in Gujarat, India in search for better opportunities and education. After graduating from college, my grandfather began searching for a job. With a strong background in mathematics, engineering, and business, he soon became successful. He patented many inventions and played important roles in different companies, including as CEO. However, many obstacles speckled his path. As a minority, he faced discrimination, where at times others judged him based more so on skin color and ethnicity than merit. Furthermore, listening to my grandfather’s story and the lives of many others showed me the importance of working hard to overcome inequality and prejudice.

What is my process?

The illustrations are made with prismacolor markers, and the background is edited with Photoshop. First, I drew the outline of the person and made the background designs. Then, I moved over to the computer to finish the background. The writing will incorporate a researched paragraph spread on who the individual is, their origins, and how and why they chose to take action.

As both the writer and illustrator, I hope to help readers understand why people fight for civil rights, how they accomplish their goals, and inspire the audience to become leaders in their own communities.


Keep a lookout for the book, coming to Amazon soon (fingers crossed I find a publisher)!
By Anisa Patel

Senior at The Bolles School

Future plans: I hope to incorporate business, finance, and economics with technology and design.



How the Policy Center Impacts the Lives of Women: Inside the Mind of Sabreen Murray

While in college, I cultivated an in-depth passion for empowering young women. The core of my being believes that as women grow confident in who they are called to be and internalize how valuable they are to society, the world as we see it would change for the better. With this optimism in the power and influence held by women, I found myself interning at the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, which I would describe as a hub of intellectuals, leaders, community advocates, innovative minds, and investigators committed to seeing the girl. In short, this place is amazing.

I don’t take it lightly that there exists such a place – where the most intelligent, compassionate, and strongest of women collaborate to empower the lives of the other women around them. I don’t take it lightly that every day the status quo remains broken, that the atmosphere of the Policy Center is not one of jealously, ill intent, or catty behavior that so often is labeled upon women in society. I don’t take it lightly that the women who work at the Policy Center have become better mothers, sisters, mentors, friends, and individual advocates through the work they commit themselves to. I don’t take it lightly that there are sex-trafficked women in our community, as well as young girls being funneled through the juvenile justice system, who find solace in the resources offered at here.

What I have found is that the Policy Center is the epicenter of the kind of work more women should be aware of and involved in.

As women, so many of us have been coerced into believing that our strength and ability is somehow insufficient. So many of us have been led to believe that we don’t possess the gift of leadership that can change the world. So many of us are crippled by insecurities that hinder our capacity to be a shining light in the world. Here are a few ways that the Policy Center is reshaping the way women interact with the world.

We reflect.

Here at the Policy Center, reflective practice enables us to witness exponential growth, both corporately and personally. We make it our priority to reflect on what we know, what we need to know, what we do with what we know, and how our doing informs our being. In short, we are always making a careful examination of what we’re doing, looking for solutions, and aiming to understand how we can become better individuals through the process. Reflective practice has made me a better intern, and pushes me daily to understand how I can use my work to better the lives of girls and young women around me.

We synergize.

I wish that the Policy Center had a reality TV show. Why? Because when it comes to women, all we are really exposed to through media is division and lack of substance. We don’t see strong, bright women working together to create change in the world. What I can say about the Policy Center is that women know the value of their contribution and simultaneously understand the importance of working together. Synergy keeps our mission afloat. It magnifies the impact we have in the community and exemplifies the power of women who work together. This type of movement is what should be broadcasted to millions around the world.

We See the Girl.

Most of all, we see the girl. What does this mean? Everything we do, whether it is research, communications, development, operations, or model programming, centers on the story of the girl. We are adamant about making sure that in the midst of our work, we don’t depersonalize the girl or invalidate her story. She is the forefront of what we do. Our goal is to serve her, to understand her, and to respect her world. We believe this drives the authenticity of our work, and ultimately shows the world that the woman is not invisible – she is colorful, complex, full of promise, and a force to be reckoned with.

Sabreen Murray is a recent graduate from the University of Florida and current Communications Intern at the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center. She found a passion for seeing the development of women through WRAPS (Women of Respect, Achievement, Perseverance, and Service), and is currently a GirlSMART facilitator with Girls Incorporated of Jacksonville, Florida. Connect with her at, and on Instagram @sabreenjmurray.

The Power of Reflective Practice: Words from Stephanie Walker

At The Policy Center we are encouraged to reflect upon our own experiences to gain a better understanding of what we have learned and to think about how it has informs our being. As an intern at The Policy Center, I had never been exposed to the in-depth, complex issues surrounding girls. After a staff meeting in which we discussed the programs we have developed and what we need to do in the future to expand our reach, I did a reflective practice about what I learned from the meeting and how it changed the way I view the issues surrounding girls. Below are the questions I asked myself, and my responses to these questions.

What do I know?

I know there are significant differences that exist between the way boys are treated versus the way girls are treated, and the way men are treated versus the way women are treated. Being aware of an issue versus truly understanding it is the difference between seeing and doing. Based on what I have learned at my time at The Policy Center, I now realize that I need to educate myself so that I can better serve girls, women, and society. I see now that these issues are pervasive in America, and if these issues exist in America in 2015, what does this mean for the world and the girls and women around the world?

 What do I need to know?

I need to expand my knowledge base about the issues surround girls and women. I need to first be knowledgeable about the research and cultural dynamics of being a girl and a woman. I then need to be given the tools to work with girls and women from different backgrounds so that I can help each unique girl and/or woman in the way she needs to be helped.

What do I do with what I know?

Once I have a holistic, comprehensive understanding of the world for girls and women, I can change the way I interact with the world as a woman to help to change the way society sees and interacts with other girls and women. 

How does my doing inform my being?

By realizing, understanding, and acting, I can help girls and women and society raise and treat girls and women in the way they should be treated—as intelligent, competent, and equal members of society.

By stopping and reflecting upon what I have learned throughout my time at The Policy Center, I have been able to come to these conclusions. I have examined myself and what I have newly learned. This has allowed me to better understand what I know, what I do not know, what I need to know, which in turn guides my actions in the future. By understanding my experiences at The Policy Center and what it means to me, I have realized that I want to help girls and women. I look forward to learning and reflecting upon my experiences, which ultimately will help me grow as an individual, and as a woman, to better serve girls and women throughout the world. ¤

Stephanie Walker is the Development Intern at the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center.  She is a  Master of Public Administration from the University of West Florida, and current resident of Jacksonville, Florida. She is developing a growing love for non-profit work, especially on the development of young girls and women.