Snapshot | The Human Not

It's not what you think.

When we came across this photo on Flickr, we got curious. So we tracked down the photographer, Danielle King, a Miami Ally from 2008-09, who is now working toward her PhD in American Politics at the University of Florida. She said she snapped the photo at the Miami Allies’ mid-year retreat in January 2009. She went on to explain …  

So, on the second day, after tossing around a football in the morning, our Program Director and Manager decided that we’d do some of those leadership and communication building exercises that involved us all being awkward in front of each other. We all used to sort of complain about them, but secretly we all loved it.  

We split into two fairly arbitrary groups and linked hands to do the Human Knot (where everyone’s hands are linked over and under one another’s, and you have to detangle to where you’re all holding hands in a circle…no easy feat on four hours of sleep).  

My group finished really, really quickly (my buddy Rich said it’s because we had “superior communication skillz,” and he’d want me to put that z in there). And then we sort of watched as the other group struggled a bit. Actually, we watched and giggled and mocked for a few minutes. I never really put my camera down that weekend, so I snapped a few shots, one of which being this photo. After a couple of minutes though, we realized that they were having a really tough time, and so we each poked our heads over into the other group’s knot and started giving them instructions on how best to detangle. This sped their process up considerably, and afterwards, we all got a pretty nice pat on the back from Kenny, our Porgram Manager, for not just finishing early, but for recognizing that our fellows, and really, our friends, were having a rough time, and using our “skillz” to help them out.  

We all got on kind of freakishly well, and it would show in times like these.  

The photo includes Richard Benitez (’08 & ’09) in the blue polo looking judgmental, and the cluster of people includes Gila Yudewitz, Nate Lettman, Luz Agudelo, Garris Nickle, and I think a slice of Nardia Dixon’s head (all ’09). In case anyone else wants to check out further shenanigans from that weekend, here’s the Flickr link.  

Editor’s postscript: Danielle has a side photography business while she’s in grad school, it’s called Big Day Photo Studio: 


Why Public Allies? Episode 5

Raj Shukla, Milwaukee Ally ’03

Here’s Episode 5 in our series, which asks a variety of people to explain the value of Public Allies from their point of view. In this post Raj Shukla talks about risk-taking, community impact, and his efforts to change energy-use habits. He is the founder of a marketing firm called Brightbend and lives in Madison, Wisc. We interviewed him in March in Washington, D.C., where he took part in a gathering of Public Ally Alumni entrepreneurs.

(And yes, we know we are posting this series out of order, but unlike “Lost” you can watch any episode without losing the thread.)

Staff Q&A | Meet the people who read your applications

Kurt Dyer of Public Allies New York

Kurt Dyer

Who he is: Program & Operations Manager at Public Allies New York, and a Milwaukee Ally 1999-2000.

Originally from: Born in Portland, Maine, grew up in LaCrosse, Wis., and moved to Milwaukee, Wis., right after high school.

Before joining the Public Allies staff: “I was running the youth program that I built when I as an Ally. I worked for Project Q – the LGBTQ Youth Drop-In Center at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center – for nine years.  After that I worked as an Associate Director at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin in the Prevention Department. I left that position to come to Public Allies New York.”

What’s it like at your workplace right now? “Just like all of the other sites, we are gearing up for end-of-year events such as Team Service Project Wrap-Up, Presentations of Learning, and graduation. In addition, we have begun our recruitment process so we’ve started interviewing hundreds of candidates for next year’s class and recruiting new and returning Partner Organizations. We are Read the rest of this entry »

Catching up with…Charles McKinney, North Carolina ’96.

Charles McKinney is an Ally Alum and past Program Manager of Public Allies North Carolina.  He’s currently an Assistant Professor at Rhodes College, in Memphis, TN.  We caught up with him on Facebook to see what he’s up to, and what advice he has for the next generation of Allies.

MacArthur:  1. When and where were you on staff of PA?

Charles:  i was an ally during the 95-96 program year. i became a program manager after that, and worked in the north carolina PA office for five years.
MacArthur: 2. When you close your eyes, and think of that time, what images or memories show up in your mind’s eye?

Charles: i’m a big time fan of jazz music. i also play the sax. jazz informs much of my life. so when i think back to those days, i think of how well the staff worked together. we were like a jazz quintet. we played off of each other; we supported each other; and we took it to the wall for our allies each and every class we worked with.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ask The Alums. Tell us about good Program Managers

Alums from Milwaukee and Chicago reflect on how their Program Managers helped them develop, and what qualities they had that helped make a successful experience.

Why PA? w/Megan McGee, Milwaukee Alumna

Milwaukee Alum, Megan McGee, checks in to share how her Ally experience inspired her to start Ex Fabula, a storytelling performance collective.

Coming soon…Public Allies Twin Cities

Last week, eight Public Allies Alumni met at Pillsbury United Communities, the new Operating Partner that will operate the Public Allies Twin Cities site.  They represented 6 different Public Allies sites (Los Angeles, Chicago, Milwaukee, DC, Eagle Rock and San Francisco), and spanned over 10 years.  In this two minute video, they share their thoughts on what it means for Public Allies to come to the Twin Cities, as well as how they intend to support the new site.

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