Ally Shares the Valuable Lessons Learned Through Program
"Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation which is not nourishing to the whole woman.” -Maya Angelou
Coming into Public Allies, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I thought I would do was learn about nonprofit organizations or maybe do some volunteering. Mostly, I just wanted to get my foot in the door of the nonprofit sector. After graduating from MCC, I was confused about what I wanted to do with my degree. I knew I was supposed to have all of these new opportunities open up for me, but I didn’t even know where to start looking. When you spend all your adult life working a job you hate because it provides the income needed to support your family, you don’t really think about what you would do if you could do anything else. I came across Public Allies and it looked like a great program. It was like a paid internship where I would learn about nonprofit organizations, and receive an education award at the end. I was more than excited to apply.
“Great leaders can see the greatness in others when they can’t see it themselves and lead them to their highest potential they don’t even know.” -Roy T. Bennett
This year I have learned a lot about myself. These valuable lessons have been, in most cases, more personal than professional. Because of Public Allies, I learned my peers consider me a very good listener. At first, it may not sound that impressive but after they explained that they feel like I was hearing what they had to say, responding constructively and engaging; I took it as a huge compliment. Professionally, I have become a representative of my organization in my community. My ability to listen to the concerns of others and consider the needs of everyone helps me to be a great leader in my position at Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA.)
“How do you serve the world, what do they need that your talent can provide?” -Jim Carrey
In Public Allies, we learn a lot about diversity. At first, we think of race, culture and ethnicity without thinking about each other’s’ individual stories. We don’t think about all of things that make us who we are as a person; how we have dealt with personal struggles and what we took from our triumphs are also contributors to the individuals we become. Throughout the program, I have learned that I have many valuable skills that can help people, even if I am just listening. Sometimes the things that we never bother to think about, the things that we do naturally, others see as our most valuable assets.
“Unity is strength….when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” -Mattie Stepanek
When we go out into the community together to do outreach on our service days, or when I am collaborating with other organizations, I have witnessed wonderful things happening when teamwork and collaboration is at the center of what we do. The Martin Luther King Jr. service day was a great example of us working together to provide resources, or even just some friendly conversation to the homeless communities around the Valley. Some of our group members have never done outreach like that before so it was nice to see us all helping and supporting one another.
“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his [their] own beauty or perceive a sense of his [their] own worth until it has been reflected back to him [them] in the mirror of another loving caring human being.” -John Joseph Powell
In my time as the Community Garden Coordinator at the Tempe Community Action Agency, I have worked to help provide food security for low-income and homeless communities in Tempe. In the gardens, we have been able to create a more productive planting calendar in order to better and more consistently provide food for the food pantry. I was able to help create some educational activities for children in the garden since we do have a wide age range of children that come to visit Escalante. By making a few changes to what we plant, I have also helped make the Escalante garden a sensory garden. This will make the garden more enjoyable for our younger visitors and our visitors with autism and other cognitive disabilities. I have collaborated with other local organizations in order to get the gardens more involved in the community. We have recently teamed up with the “I Have a Name Project” to help collect donations for their summer outreach projects. We took food and supply donations for them and had them visit the market, resulting in more foot traffic to both the market and the garden.
Being a part of Public Allies has helped me to connect all these dots. It has helped me to see every need that I can help with. If I cannot help, I will find someone who can. That is the beauty of being a part of a group like Public Allies- our willingness to work together and try to find solutions to problems that are often ignored or overlooked. We are the example for those that will come after us.
“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” -Jim Carrey
Angelina Magerl is a Class 12 Public Ally, placed at Tempe Community Action Agency as a Community Garden Coordinator. Public Allies Arizona is a 10-month apprenticeship program designed to develop the next generation of civic leaders.