As we count down to the final application deadline for the next Public Allies class, we invite you to listen to snippets from conversations we’ve had with our Alumni. It’ll give you a glimpse into the Public Allies experience and the impact it has on a person’s life and career. Today, please meet Vicente Escobedo, a San Antonio 2008 alumnus. Vicente has been supporting single dads since he became a dad himself in high school, and today he continues that work as an outreach coordinator for the San Antonio Fatherhood Campaign.
Public Allies: How did you learn about the Public Allies program?
Vicente Escobedo: I was working with the Fatherhood Campaign, and the executive director of the gave me an application. To be honest I looked at it and I just threw it to the side, I wasn’t really interested. And then he encouraged me and he told me what the opportunity was and he knew I was a perfect candidate for it. So I submitted my application.
P.A.: Why didn’t you think you were a good candidate?
Vicente: I didn’t really have the skills. The application was long (laughs). And I was pretty much comfortable doing what I was doing at the Fatherhood Campaign, just answering phones and talking to people.
P.A.: What’s the most important thing you think you learned from Public Allies?
Vicente: The most important one was work ethics. Before Public Allies, I didn’t have a real structure. Work ethics? I wasn’t taking it very seriously. I mean I loved my job, but I didn’t really think I was that important, so I would just do mediocre stuff here and there. You need me to do something? OK. I’ll go pick it up or I’ll do this report. I didn’t really dedicate myself to what I was doing. Public Allies kind of challenged those work ethics – taking pride in your work, understanding that you are important to the community. And I think that’s one of the most important things that I learned.
P.A.: Did you ever do the Public Allies exercise called “I used to be … now I am?”
Vicente: Yeah, that was part of the Presentation of Learning. I really can’t remember what I said.
P.A.: How would you put it now?
Vicente: I used to be a regular guy with a regular job who didn’t really have a lot of goals in my life. But now I see myself as somebody who’s important in my community. Because now I’m not just thinking about my goals and my family, but I’m also thinking about my community as a whole.
There’s a lot of stigma against men in the community. A lot of stigma about abuse against children and men being the perpetrator. And I see myself now as somebody who, if I can help stop one single guy from hitting a child or abusing a female, then I think I did a good job. Before Public Allies, I didn’t think I was important enough to help anybody.:: Public Allies San Antonio is taking Ally applications until May 29. Click here to learn more. :: Visit the Public Allies website to learn more about the Ally Program.