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!

Tweet #allies2013!

I've assembled the finest group of current Allies to answer your questions....

For those of you who want to get real-time responses to questions about  the Ally experience, we’ve been asking you to tweet to #allies2013.   Now, we’ve got more eyes paying attention to that feed besides our Director of National Recruitment, we’ve added a roster of Allies who will also respond to that hashtag:

PA Connecticut
Isabelle M. Delgado*
@peaceabelle

PA Maryland
PA Central Florida
 
PA Chicago

Ceci Benitez @Soccergirl1023
Michael Matsey* @shadow_sphere
Kaleena Marquez*
@kaleenacoi

Feel free to tweet them individually, or at #allies2013 if you want to hear from them.  Even if your ideal site is not represented, they’d be happy to share their authentic insights on their experience so far.

Everyone has strengths, capacities and assets…

Bah to your powerpoints! The venerable Jody Kretzmann presents Asset Based Community Development to the Chicago Allies during Core Week 2011.

 

During Core Week, Allies are oriented to their Apprenticeship.  Most likely, the first thing they are oriented to are the 5 Core Values of Public Allies.  These values define our leadership practice.

One of those Values is Focus on Assets:  that the strengths, capacities and assets of individuals and communities are the primary building blocks of sustainable community development.  During the Apprenticeship year, Allies are encouraged to looking at serving at their placement and in their community through this lens, and for many it’s a huge paradigm change.

The result of this practice:  their nonprofit develops a new way of working with those they serve, local residents are engaged to re-energize and re-purpose public spaces.  Ultimately, it’s inspiring the art of the possible.   To learn more visit the Asset-Based Community Development Institute website.

Last year, Connecticut Allies worked alongside local residents to beautify their neighborhood.

 

 

 

What’s Next, Phy Tran?

 

Her favorite memory from her Ally year: Phy's teen girls take a break from learning how to box in her TeenREACH program.

Who’s next?  Phy Tran, Public Allies Chicago is next!  This is the third in a series of quick e-mail interviews with graduating 2011 Allies, who share with us…well, what’s next for them after graduation. 

So, Phy…What’s Next?

Read the rest of this entry »

Absolutely Beautiful in Chicago

From a PA Chicago Ally Presentation of Learning.  Consider this three minute video their “year in review.”

 

 

Video | Honk if you’re an Ally

Guest blogger Elias Cepeda (left) is a new program manager at Public Allies Chicago. One of his colleagues has been videotaping the activities of Chicago’s new class of Allies. This video shows one of their exercises. Elias was kind enough to put it in some context so you won’t be left wondering why a bunch of grown adults keep saying “vroom” to each other.

At first glance it resembles a slightly out of control inside joke – 30 or so people in a circle gesturing back and forth between one another, with sound effects. One after the other blurts “vroom!” or “oil slick!” or “pit stop!” while waving a hand, twirling a finger or putting both arms in front of their body. 

In fact, it’s a well-planned morning exercise on the fifth day of core training for Chicago’s 2011 class of Allies. Mari Meyer, the program manager who facilitated the activity, explains what  is going on: 

“We are working as a team to get our imaginary race car around our track and there are certain sounds and movements that are required to do that successfully. For example, a side twist push and ‘vroom’ sound allows the car to move, and then a screeching brake sound and a hand against the direction the car is coming from stops the car and turns it around.” 

It’s an exercise Meyer learned through her theater experience as a youth. The idea is to move participants out of their comfort zones.  The mix of physicality and sound takes into account different kinds of learners. 

If the activity looks and sounds silly to observers, they’re not alone. At least initially, many of the Allies themselves – all adults working on very serious issues in the community, full time – weren’t so sure about Meyer’s race car simulation. “At first people are skeptical, especially older people,” she says. “They think it is silly and think, ‘how am I going to look?’ But once they start getting into it everyone lets go and it gets funny, noisy and loud. People get engaged  and everyone gets excited when it’s their turn and they are able to add in their own creative expression.” 

Engagement, collaboration and creative expression, all towards a goal. Now it starts to make some sense. The seemingly unruly and silly exercise actually fits very well into the Public Allies paradigm. 

“So much of our program is about building strong leaders that are not only able to lead and work effectively, but also collaborate on a team. It is not only about being accountable for themselves but also about communicating with partners, peers, teammates and co-workers. That is so crucial to them  developing as well-rounded leaders. In the game, they have to think,  ‘how am I going to work effectively with all these other people to make this car go ‘round?’ ” 

:: Visit the Public Allies Chicago web page here.

Video | Hello, Chicago!

Meet the Chicago Allies and Staff in this quick video.

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