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Public Allies core value: Collaboration
We believe in the strength of the collective and we build consensus and empower each other to achieve common goals.
It takes a village to raise a child. As the Human Resource Staffing Coordinator (and later, the Volunteer Coordinator) for Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, I realized that it really does take a village to raise a child. There is strength in the collective power of partnerships and teamwork. Above all, I learned that crisis, obstacles and challenges are all areas of opportunity. All are blessings in disguise. It is what happens in times of crisis that leadership, collaboration and partnerships come together to create something magical and positive in the hearts of all those affected – in this case, the children of Arizona. In terms of Public Allies, everyone leads to help create a just and equitable society for each other. However, the children are the great futures that we must never allow to suffer alone. That is why it takes a village to raise a child. We cannot do it alone.
During the Arizona teachers strike, my organization was hit hard. What seemed like a small walkout turned into a statewide political movement that trickled down into localities, especially those in youth development and education – of which Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is all about. The kids had nowhere to go during the walkout. What happened was beyond what I had imagined. It is one thing seeing the massive #RedforEd strikes on television and online every day, but it is another thing to actually be affected by the strike directly. Every day was tentative; schools were closed, some districts reversed information about school closings/openings in a matter of hours.
The statewide teacher walkout lasted six days. However, those six days seemed like an eternity. Everything stopped and/or was adjusted due to staffing shortages. The nine branches of BGCS had to be proactive regarding the uncertainty of the Arizona teaches strike. BGCS’s mission, vision and initiative is to provide a positive impact for the youth of Scottsdale and Native American communities by helping each youth reach their ultimate potential – this clearly was the case during the strike. My organization was prepared with dealing with the impact and aftermath of the crisis as a whole. We delivered our promise to all families and stayed consistent throughout the crisis. BGCS branches extended the usual after school hours, opening from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of the strike and continued to provide seamless full-day services to the kids.
Everyone pitched in to be there for the kids. Branch directors worked especially hard on staffing plans, activities and parent communication for their branches. Everyone in support services was called to help during the crisis. It felt like one of those scenes in a movie in which a ship is sinking and the first ones to be saved were the children (and women, of course.) The leaders and crew stayed consistent with the rescue mission to get everyone to safety as efficiently as possible. That was what it felt like when I was called to action. It was all about saving the children. I was asked to go help out at the Charros Branch. They did not have enough staff coverage to help with the kids. Anastasia, my service dog, was also on board with the mission. After all, she’s been my Junior HR Staffing Coordinator at my placement since day one. Everyone from the branches to the support services team all collaborated to build consensus and empower each other to reach common goals.
“From day one, leadership and administrative staff stepped in to assist branch staff for an ‘all hands on deck’ effort during this unexpected time of need. We are all tied together with a common care, concern and passion for our kids. When they need us, we are there. That is what matters.” – BGCS President and CEO
This is my story. This is the moment in which I realize why I was placed at BGCS. This is what makes the “human” to the “resources”. I am proud to say that I was a part of this teachers strike in a huge way through my organization. I collaborated and led in a positive manner that is representative of what Public Allies is all about.
Gigi Eung was part of Public Allies' Class 12. She was placed at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale as a Human resources Staffing Coordinator. Public Allies Arizona is a 10-month apprenticeship program designed to develop the next generation of civic leaders.