Volunteer Spotlight: Sandy Fernandez

SOTIAdmin Volunteering

SURVIVORS works extensively with volunteers to maximize funding and services to clients. From 2012 – 2015 we had over 400 short-term and long-term volunteers including 33 dedicated long-term administrative and program support volunteers who, together, contributed approximately 48 hours per month for a total of 1,728 hours during the past three years. Activities ranged from newsletter folding, to hygiene drives, to befrienders, to volunteers who drove clients to and from appointments, and more!

Today we spotlight Sandy Fernandez, a San Diego State University student studying International Security and Conflict Resolution. Sandy is interning at SURVIVORS for the summer.


Sawubona! A Zimbabwe hello, however I am not Zimbabwean, I am a first generation Mexican-American young woman who is intrigued by all things cultural and international our mother Earth has to offer. My name is Sandy Fernandez and I am honored to be a part of the SURVIVORS team here in San Diego as the Community Relations Intern. I am a current undergraduate senior at San Diego State University where I am majoring in International Security & Conflict Resolution with an emphasis on Justice in the Global System. Through higher education and on the job training experience I am happy to begin a journey towards a career in International Human Rights Law, grasping as much information from different arenas in the Human Rights sphere.

In my free time, I enjoy spending quality time at the dog beach with my two little dogs, Ray; a partially blind, 5 month old Dalmatian who loves to chew on my shoes rather than her dozens of chew toys, and Minnie, a tiny miniature poodle mixed with shih-tzu who thinks she is a German Shepard guard dog.

Currently I have a part-time job at Kaiser Permanente as an Appointment Center Team Lead where I started in June 2014 when I also started calling San Diego my new home. Born and raised in the Los Angeles County, I had been introduced to a variety of ethnicities and cultures from a very young age with my childhood neighbors.

The United States, being the melting pot of the world, brought my own parents at a young age from Mexico in hope for a better community and future that they would not have achieved for them or my three older brothers and I if we had been born in their villages. Today as a result of their courageous move 38 years ago, they have given their children an opportunity to encounter the knowledge of human rights issue and immigration policies with refugee and asylees challenges, through the chance of gaining a college education in the United States.

SURVIVORS is an organization that helps to heal survivors of politically-motivated torture. Here I am advocating for human rights and learning about the challenges survivors face while rebuilding their lives in San Diego. I am excited to learn more about this, which is why I joined the SURVIVORS team. I also hope to pave the way for other individuals to become familiar with the issues that are not far from our day-to-day lives, in order to gain a bigger support system to help simplify the challenges faced by refugees, asylees, and survivors of torture.

Now, back to the“sawubona!” greeting. A random fun fact about me is that I spent the summer of 2015 in Zimbabwe, Africa being a part of the Nakavango Animal Conservation Program and participating in education outreach for the villagers in Victoria Falls. It was a very blessed and eye-opening opportunity, with that in mind, I remind us all to step out of our comfort zone, because “a comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there. “ –Unknown.


Sandy in Zimbabwe.

Interested in volunteering like Sandy? Go to our volunteer page to see all of the ways you can get involved.