Sorry for the scant updates lately. Admittedly, we’re heading into the twilight of recruitment season. Only New Mexico, Twin Cities, DC, and Orlando are accepting applications for Fall 2010 (you can still submit to be an alternate for the other sites, however). So, I wanted to take a post to reflect on the recent National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS), held June 28-30, 2010 in New York City.
I like to consider NCVS as “servicenerdpalooza” — it’s the largest gathering of national service folks, volunteer managers, civic engagement folks, etc. You’ve got the public, private and educational sector represented. This year we had 6,000 participants from across the country (we filled Radio City Music Hall for the opening plenary). More importantly, we had about 30 folks affiliated with Public Allies attending from across the country, perhaps our largest delegation ever. It’s a testament to the growth of our national network, as well as the career arcs of our alumni as well.
On Tuesday night, PA hosted a happy hour for all of our delegation. In the pic above, we were able to gather most of the alumni (There were a few others missing because they were still tending to Conference business). Besides being alumni, all of the above are Public Allies alumni that have significant roles in local site leadership, national office leadership, as well as industry leadership.
Back row from left to right:
- Leif Elsmo, MKE ’94, CHI Staff 96-99, Nat’l Board of Directors ’09-Present. Leif is currently the Executive Director of Community Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center. He’s got the daunting task of ensuring that the Med Center is a true community partner, and that neighbors feel welcome to share their talents with the hospital.
- Roger Hesketh, DEL ’01, DEL Staff ’05-Present. Roger spent a few years in the Delaware nonprofit scene before returning to Public Allies Delaware, and is one of our most veteran Program Managers across the country. \
- Kurt Dyer, MKE ’98, Alumni Board ’02-’04, NY Staff ’08-Present. Kurt was an organizing force in the Milwaukee LGBTQ community before heading off to the “Big City” to be a key component of the PA New York renaissance — they’re graduating their largest class ever today.
- Max Chang, LA ’03, NY Staff ’08- Present. Max joined up with Kurt to help strengthen our PA NY site after working on the West Coast.
Front Row (l to r)
- Nakeisha Neal, DC ’96, Site Director DC. After finishing her Ally stint, Nakeisha was active player in DC city government. She’s now returned to PA to helm the triumphant re-birth of our flagship site, PA Washington, DC.
- Jennie Yeow, PA Delaware ’05-Present. Jennie’s one of the rare talents that did a steady climb through the ranks, from Ally to 2nd Year Ally, to Program Staff.
- Freda Richmond, CHI ’97. Freda is now the interim Executive Director of College Summit, New York Region. Prior to that she worked with UPS Foundation. While not a PA Staffer, her current work at College Summit is very aligned in our work, as she supports educational attainment of urban high school students.
- Jenise Terrell, MKE ’98, National Office ’04-Present. JT has been at the national office for several years, and is currently the Director of AmeriCorps Grants. This past year, she led the effort which secured AmeriCorps funding for 656 Ally positions for the 2010-11 Program Year – that’s $8million dollars to you and me, Jack.
- Nikki Thomas, CHI ’05, MKE Staff ’08-Present. Like Jennie, Nikki “fast-tracked” her way onto staff at our Milwaukee site. As the site’s Recruitment Director, she’s seen numbers swell under her watch.
- Nelly Nieblas, LA ’02, National Office ’09-Present. Nelly left work on Capitol Hill to return back to LA to become an Ally. She finished her term and did graduate work at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Since then, she’s the Director of Government Relations, and strives to ensure that diversity and inclusion is more than just talk for the surging national service movement.
- Then there’s me. CHI ’97 Ally, CHI Staff from ’99-’03. National Office from ’08-present.
Freda and I haven’t seen each other in 10 years. However, when we saw each other again, it was just like being at PA on Friday mornings in the training space — except we had to catch up on 10 years of stories and gossip. Even though I work at the National Office, I rarely have the opportunity to be in real-time space even with local staff. However, when we do get together, it’s easy. It’s a testament to the Ally experience, that we are able to share a common bond and language, as well as see that we’re still working to promote social change — be it developing individuals, organizations or communities. At first, you might wonder what relevance this has with you — after all, you’re probably focused on trying to get in this Fall 2011. However, it’s not too early to foreshadow what lies beyond the Apprenticeship — a lifetime of fellowship and service.