10 Months…


Just put together our congratulations video for over 500 Allies that are completing their Apprenticeship. For those who are curious about what happens during a term, these 45 seconds do a pretty good job of capturing it.  Congrats again to our Class of 2012, our newest batch of Alumni!

How my Mother and AmeriCorps made me a Better Man

Thanks to Kayla McKinney over at the ASU Lodestar Center blog for getting us hip to Michael Soto’s post on his AmeriCorps service, and its connection to his own family history.  Michael Soto just completed his second year Fellowship at Public Allies Arizona, where he served with the Arizona Citizens for the Arts.

 

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to serve my country. My mother served her country by joining the Army at the age of 18. She served at Carlisle Barracks and the Pentagon in the Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam War. As a child I remember sneaking into her bureau to pin her Army medals on my chest and parade around like a soldier.

Her service didn’t end with the Army. She was an example for me throughout my childhood, bringing me along as she volunteered at soup kitchens, with the LDS cannery, and in the Scouts. My desire to emulate my mother through service to my country only increased as I grew older.

Michael Soto, Public Allies Arizona 2009-2011.

When I was a junior in high school, I received a recruitment call from the US Military Academy at West Point. My mother tried to hide her excitement as she handed me the phone, but her eyes lit up. What mother wouldn’t proud for their child to attend West Point?

I wasn’t able to attend West Point, nor serve in the military. I am a transgender man, and for years I thought my gender identity meant I could not serve my country. Then, one lucky day, a friend told me about Public Allies, and I realized that I could serve my country — through AmeriCorps.

Today, I am about two-thirds of the way through my second term of national service in Public Allies Arizona and AmeriCorps. I’ve given approximately 2,900 hours of work for America since 2009. I can’t tell you what an honor it has been to serve my country. Public Allies and AmeriCorps have made it possible for me to accomplish my dream and serve the United States of America.

A few months ago, I was shopping at the local grocery market, wearing my AmeriCorps sweatshirt. I was lost in my shopping list, trying to find the steak sauce, butter lettuce and instant mashed potatoes. An older man walked up to me, squared his solders to mine, extended his hand and said, “Young man, thank you for your service.” I looked at him, like a deer in headlights, so he clarified: “My son served in AmeriCorps and I think our country needs more young people who believe in and work for America.” I agreed with him and thanked him, with a hoarse voice, a handshake and a nod.

I give my mother all the credit. She taught me, by example, the most important values in my life: service to my country, service to my community, and service to those in need. And I thank Americorps for being the answer to my lifelong wish of serving my country. I hope to teach my own children, someday, all that I’ve learned about service and citizenship.

On the Verge | Tascheena Kimberley Umanah, Arizona

During the short history of this blog, we’ve featured Allies, staff and Alumni.  However, today we’ve got another installment of On The Verge, featuring applicants who are on the verge of becoming Allies for 2010.  Our next profile is Tascheena Kimberley Umanah, who we met by her comments on this very blog, on the debut segment of OTV. We interviewed Tascheena via e-mail to learn about where she’s at with the process of applying to Public Allies Arizona.  Tascheena’s responses are in BOLD.

How did you first hear about Public Allies?

I first heard of Public Allies through the community service listserv that I had been receiving from, my Read the rest of this entry »

Video | The Five Values of Public Allies, Arizona Style

We may have to dub Arizona “Hollywood East.”  Ally Michael Soto produced this 4 minute video of the Allies talking about how they’ve practiced the Values of Public Allies this past year.

Get up on Friday Morning: PA AZ’s Jemia Cunningham


Public Allies Arizona’s Jemia Cunningham shares with us a highlight from her Presentation of Learning — her mashup of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” with her Public Allies experience.

Video | What are Allies getting done?

Earlier this year, 10 of the Public Allies communities took part in a “Fill-a-Flip Blitz.” Each used a company-issued Flip camera to videotape stories about what was going on around Ally Nation.

We’ve receieved Flip material from six of the 10 participating communities so far. It has been my job to log all the material and turn it into edited videos, and I gotta say it’s easy to feel like an underachiever as I listen to these interviews — with Allies, Alumni, staff, and the people who are working with Allies in their placements. There are so many passionate, capable people doing and supporting Public Allies work.

Anyhoo, some of the videos you have seen and will see on this blog come from the Fill-a-Flip project, and here’s one more. I spliced together snippets of interviews with 16 Allies as they described the work they are doing in their placements. The interviews come from Arizona, Chicago, Maryland, New York and North Carolina and were conducted in April. The Allies you’ll meet here are at or near the end of their placements now, and getting ready for Presentations of Learning (PublicAllySpeak for year-end reports) and graduation. Give ’em props for all they’ve accomplished! Their names, in order of appearance, with their Ally communities …

Ashley Brown, North Carolina; George Morse, North Carolina; Ben Garcia-Spitz, Chicago; Megan Anderson, Chicago (you may recall her from an earlier post); Ella Nguyen, North Carolina; Brandon Johnson, Arizona; Yasmeen Nanwalala, Chicago; Eduardo Cordon, Chicago; Tarnasia Lundy, New York; Kelsey Addy, Maryland; Robert Wheatfall, Chicago; Robbie Flick, Maryland (with his boss); Bola Odejayi, Maryland; Akil Meade, Maryland; Raquel Rodriguez, Maryland (with one of her mentees); and John “JD” VanSlyke, Chicago.

FAQ: May Ally Application Deadline Update

Milwaukee is no longer accepting Ally applications.

Delaware is only accepting Ally applications for its Summer Alternates List.  If you submit an application for Delaware, then you will only be considered if they still have openings after their summer Matching Fair.  For more info, e-mail PA Delaware.

Cincinnati has extended its Ally Application deadline to May 31, 2010.

May’s Ally Deadlines:

  • May 15, 2010.  New York, Los Angeles
  • May 17, 2010.  Chicago, Silicon Valley, San Francisco
  • May 26, 2010.  North Carolina
  • May 28, 2010.  Arizona
  • May 31, 2010.  Cincinnati, San Antonio

You should expect a decision on your application usually within 2 weeks of the site’s Ally Application deadline.

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