A Note From Our Intern Matthew Plaza

Hello supporters and volunteers of Volunteer Network OC,

Matthew PlazaOver the past ten weeks, I have had the honor of being the Community Outreach intern for Volunteer Network OC (VNOC). I am so happy to have found a group of people that are dedicated to helping others. There is such a large need for more helping hands, and when we all come together, anything is possible.

A little bit about me

I am a senior at the University of California, Irvine and a double major in political science and social policy & public service. I am very involved at UCI and have quite a few responsibilities. Some include serving as the President of UNICEF at UCI where I spend much of my time educating, advocating, and fundraising for causes on behalf of children here and around the world. I am also an At Large Senator of the Associated Students- UCI. I enjoy doing volunteer work in the areas of education, the environment, and food security.


Back in June, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and so many changes to school and work, I was unsure what I was going to be doing this summer. I found myself applying to VNOC, among other internships on the jobs database. VNOC really caught my eye because of their mission of giving back to the community and helping disadvantaged and vulnerable people in OrangeCounty. I was super excited when Maria, the Director of Operations, responded and I was offered this opportunity as an intern. While there was so much uncertainty in other areas, I knew from the beginning that this would be an awesome and educational experience.

Internship Experience

In all honesty, I was nervous how a remote internship would be executed. However, Maria made the process adaptable, approachable, and fitting to the current times. The VNOC board was nothing but welcoming and appreciative of my work on some task I had been working on. Like most college students I know how to navigate social media fairly well, so I used my best knowledge to create digital flyers for the many media outlets VNOC uses. I was also delighted to assist with the gala committee for VNOC’s Second Annual Gala and Auction coming up in November. I also reached out to schools and campus organizations to recruit new volunteers to use the VNOC app to find great community service opportunities. I was glad to be able to observe the inside workings of the organization. I definitely learned some more about the different components of what it takes to run a nonprofit organization.

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with my internship experience. It is evident that the staff at Volunteer Network OC are inspired to make positive change in our Orange County communities. I hope you will also choose to spend some time giving back to your community in any way you can. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”-Mahatma Gandhi