Human Trafficking Blog

Leadership Development Program Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Over the years, we’ve worked with incredible Leadership Development Program participants. This three-month internship program draws people from all walks of life. We’ve supported undergraduate students just entering the workforce, late-career professionals switching fields, and everything in between.

Our 200+ alumni share one thing in common: their commitment to human rights. They’ve gone on to pursue careers in anti-trafficking and parallel issue areas, including immigration and housing. They’ve gotten jobs with the government, nonprofits, and universities or schools.

We recently caught up with three former Leadership Development Program participants. Learn what they gained from their internship and where their careers have taken them since!

Mia Alvarado is Providing Support for Unaccompanied Refugee Youth

Many internships are only open to university students, but ours is open to non-academic individuals, too. Alum Mia Alvarado reflects, “When I applied to LCHT, I was not enrolled in school and unsure of my professional future.” She wanted to grow her leadership abilities within the field of human rights.

Mia reflects, “This provided me a space to grow, learn, and be challenged outside the traditional academic setting.” After her internship, Mia had more of an understanding of what she wanted to do next. “My time with LCHT ultimately aided in my decision to obtain my Master’s Degree in social work.” 

She remembers, “The most impactful moment for me was co-facilitating a training at a high school in Pueblo, Colorado. Watching students display curiosity and motivation to become involved in the mission to combat human trafficking was rejuvenating. Generations to come will continue to advocate for change.”

Quote from Mia Alvarado, LCHT Leadership Development Program Intern

Mia has spent the past four years working with unaccompanied refugee youth who have recently resettled in the United States and are seeking asylum. “The majority of refugee youth that I work with are survivors of labor and/or sex trafficking,” Mia shares. “Many of the youth that I serve were brought to the United States to continue to be exploited.”

In her role, Mia clinically assesses youth for signs of force, fraud, coercion, and bondage. She refers youth to the Office of Trafficking in Persons to receive ongoing services. Mia also provides therapy for the youth she serves to find healing. She fosters a safe space to process the complex trauma and crime perpetrated on them.

Looking back, Mia says, “LCHT aided in my professional ability to confidently assess for different types of exploitation. It has granted me the foundation to continue to educate them, their families, and agencies involved on the complexity of human trafficking.”

Mia has seen firsthand what’s needed to move the anti-trafficking movement forward. “It is imperative that we continue to educate and hold systems accountable that allow for the continuance of exploitation. Policies and safe measures at the federal, state, and local level must continue to be implemented to protect the most vulnerable individuals in society, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or immigration status.”

Alexandra Brodsky is Working with Survivors as a Human Trafficking Case Manager

Some interns, including Alexandra Brodsky, already know they want to work in anti-trafficking. Alexandra “wanted to explore the different aspects of working at an anti-trafficking organization.” She says, “LCHT’s program was perfect for that because I could learn from all the staff in various roles.”

Alexandra helped the research team with our latest initiative, The Colorado Project 2023. Through this, she connected with people from many different human trafficking organizations. “This program was a vital component to my landing a job soon after graduating,” says Alexandra.

Quote from Alexandra Brodsky, LCHT Leadership Development Program Intern

One of Alexandra’s biggest takeaways was the importance of survivor voices. “Survivors should always have a seat at the table and get decision-making power.” Today, Alexandra works as a human trafficking case manager at COVA, a longtime partner of ours. “Through a trauma-informed lens, I’m able to assist survivors with finding the resources available to them in Colorado.”

Alexandra shared that her internship helped her understand how to be sustainable in this work. She says, “It’s easy to start to feel overwhelmed and overworked while working in the human rights field. My internship helped me understand why you shouldn’t overwork yourself and how to avoid burnout.”

Today, Alexandra also educates individuals, groups, and organizations across Colorado about human trafficking. “The education piece is so important in spreading awareness and dispelling myths.”

Nathalia Reyes Hernandez is Advocating for Immigrant Rights

Nathalia Reyes Hernandez knew what she wanted from the Leadership Development Program: to better understand how trauma-informed care and psychology can have a place in human rights work. She adds, “The education, research, and action piece that LCHT is a part of intrigued me. Not many nonprofits have a research component that feeds their work.”

Through her internship, Nathalia participated in focus groups and a call-to-action group. She recalls, “Listening to the community and their needs was incredibly insightful. It allowed me to see the human rights profession at a macro-level.”

Nathalia shares, “My biggest takeaway has been becoming aware of my misconceptions and biases. Human trafficking is happening in our communities and neighborhoods, but not in the way we necessarily think.” 

Quote from Nathalia Reyes Hernandez, LCHT Leadership Development Program Intern

Nathalia recently became an Administrative Assistant at Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (one of our amazing partners!). “Social justice and human rights work has always been a personal passion of mine, and it is an honor to bring my background into this work. I have witnessed the unjust immigration system through my loved ones. I am grateful to be in a position where I can assist communities impacted by it while deepening my knowledge of the system as a whole.”

Looking back at her internship, Nathalia shared that it brought her a sense of hope. “There are so many individuals who care and are working towards creating change and advocating for human rights.”

Our alumni are many of those people creating change. They are moving the needle towards a future without exploitation. They are champions for human rights in our Colorado communities—and we are grateful to know them!

Group photo of LCHT team

Become a Human Rights Leader in Your Community

Are you pursuing a career in anti-trafficking, human rights, or a parallel movement? If so, our Leadership Development Program is for you. Gain experience in areas including advocacy, volunteer management, fundraising, and more. You’ll also be mentored 1:1 by a staff member who works in your area of interest.

Internships are at least 150 hours during one of three sessions: Spring, Summer, or Fall. Our next internship session will run from June through August 2024. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 26th. Applicants from all career, academic, and life stages are encouraged to apply.

Note: While Leadership Development Program internships are unpaid, needs-based scholarships are available.