Angela Soliz

Donning the Sweatshirt of Service: Reflections from a Second-Year Ally

posted by
Angela Soliz,

ASU Lodestar Center
Public Allies AZ Alumna /
Youth Leadership Development
Coordinator & Volunteer Coordinator,
ADL Arizona and GLSEN Phoenix

When I think back on my time with ASU Lodestar Center's Public Allies Arizona program, many different memories and candid moments pop into my mind. Particularly, I think of an image of a certain well-worn Public Allies hooded sweatshirt — our unspoken uniform of service. Every service day, there it would be. Rain or shine or paint, it would be there.

That sweatshirt is a reflection of my experiences in a lot of ways, and I think it's a symbol that unites a lot of us in the nonprofit sector, beyond Public Allies. It's a rather unassuming (some might even say unattractive) emblem of our collective pledge to do a service for this country. We take pay cuts, put ourselves out there, and take risks — all to make a difference. We all look similar in our sweatshirts, and the mission and goals of our work — to do good service, to help others, to create change — unite us even more.

But, inevitably, that sweatshirt comes off once we get home from a long day of service, and the visible link to one another and the tangible attainability of our work becomes harder to see.