Snapshot | Dainty … or determined?

This snapshot of Nikki, an Ally in San Francisco, was taken by Christophe Gonzales during a service day project. The “caption” below was written by Lauren LePage, a San Francisco Ally.

In her mid-year presentation of learning, Nikki performed spoken word, sharing with us a poem she’d written about feeling pressed on all sides. And when the pressure built up, she stopped trying; to be mediocre was easier.

But she wanted to press back. 

As her fellow Ally, I’ve watched Nikki press back, press back, and press on through. She is nothing short of fierce. In this photo, Nikki’s wearing a mask and gloves not because she’s dainty or nervous about paint smudges; she’s protecting herself from paint fumes. Because even though she was pregnant, she was determined to take part in our Cesar Chavez Service Day, determined to help create the mural at Anne Darling Elementary School, just as she was determined to fully commit to her placement, her Team Service Project (of which I’m proud to be a part), and her Critical Reflection project.

She pressed, she pressed, she pressed on back. And that’s not all she pressed on through…

Meet baby Kaya Seletute Arenal, born May 21, 2010, at 3:09 a.m. We like to refer to her as the Team HIP baby.

♦ ♦ ♦

Editor’s Note #1: You can see more photos from this service day at

Editor’s Note #2: Congratulations Nikki! Kaya is beautiful.


Hit the Links!

On the weekends, we round up some links on leadership, nonprofits, pop culture, and the intersections in between.

This week’s featured link:  PA Los Angeles’ Ashley Smith knows the Team Service Project (TSP) experience, as she’s done it twice — as a first-year Ally, and now as a TSP Coach as a second-year Ally.  Check out her latest blog update, where she reflects on the TSP Coaching experience.  (True Life)

After the jump, s’more links…

Read the rest of this entry »

Ally Impact: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport, CT photographer Mark Smith is featuring on his website a set a photographs from a community portrait session sponsored by Public Allies Connecticut and the Bridgeport Community Trust.  The Bridgeport Allies Team Service Project is renovating family homes to address the decline of affordable housing in their community. Read the rest of this entry »

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