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.

Advertisements

A success story that’s front-page news

A program in Baltimore supported by Public Allies Maryland was the subject of a front-page story recently in The Baltimore Sun. The headline: Nine years later, a school project that many thought was only a dream becomes a reality. It’s about a project called The Dream House, and it’s a truly impressive story about what can happen when a community is determined. Here’s an excerpt:

No one thought they’d ever really do it. Not even their teacher, who helped them draft the pledge. Yet the kids and their teacher from a rough part of town incorporated, raised more than a half-million dollars, fought government bureaucracy, changed a neighborhood’s mind about inner city kids and turned a derelict eyesore into something beautiful.

Since Allies so often work behind the scenes, this story didn’t pop up on our Google Reader, and it didn’t mention Christina Drushel, Maryland Ally ’10. But we found out about it from Program Manager Laura Bumiller, and then asked Christina to tell us about the part she played in helping these youth achieve their dream. Here’s what she wrote:

Christina Drushel

“Thanks to Public Allies, I had the amazing opportunity to be placed with The Youth Dreamers. It has been my role as the Community Outreach Coordinator to go into the community and get the residents aware of and involved with the Youth Dreamers and create new and exciting ways for the Youth Dreamers to connect and better serve their community.  In order to achieve these goals, we formed the Community Engagement Team, made up of four middle school Youth Dreamers and one high school Youth Dreamer, to brainstorm and implement events, such as Info Nights, Service Days and many pavement-pounding campaigns to get the word out about the Youth Dreamers, their events and community opportunities.

“It has been an amazing experience to be a part of the Youth Dreamers during this historic time in their long nine-year history.  The excitement surrounding this year is real. I can feel it every time I walk into the house or the classroom; I can see it every time there is a new furniture delivery or the students finish a project in the house; and I can hear it whenever the students laugh and cheer for their accomplishments.

“The opening of the Dream House is just the beginning of the Youth Dreamers’ mission of creating a safe and empowering place of youth.  It is a joyous feeling to know that I played a small role in making this Dream come true and it is a feeling that will bring me joy for years to come.  The Youth Dreamers have shown me that I should never be afraid to dream and I should always believe in the beauty of my dreams.”

Here’s a link to the full story. To find out more about Youth Dreamers, visit www.youthdreamers.org.

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

Laura Bumiller

Who she is: Senior Program Manager, Public Allies Maryland

Originally from: Columbia, Md. Attended Villanova University in Philadelphia, has lived in downtown Baltimore City for five years “and I love it.”

Before Public Allies: “I did AmeriCorps VISTA for two terms, with LIFT (called National Student Partnerships at the time) in D.C. and in Baltimore. After that experience, I went to the University of Maryland for my Master’s degree in Social Work. I was working in the school’s outreach department doing Organizational Capacity Building for nonprofits when we decided to launch Public Allies Maryland.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Why it’s a great idea to host an Ally

We recently collected video interviews from Public Allies sites around the country (there are currently 18 of them). Using a Flip video camera, Public Allies staff collected stories about our organization. This video contains a sampling of comments from people who supervise Public Allies at their nonprofit organizations. By watching it, you’ll get an idea of the many different roles Allies fill and the impact they have. We figured it would be a nice post to start your week, because everyone in it is happy (to have an Ally). Enjoy!

You can find details about hosting an Ally on our official website. Most sites are still accepting applications for the 2010-11 year.

%d bloggers like this: