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Thinking back, I had no idea where I was in life or where I wanted to be. I only knew I wanted to be in the nonprofit sector; I knew wanted to help. I have always known that to be my purpose. How I was going to get there and do my life’s purpose was up for debate. That is when I discovered Public Allies Arizona.
They took a single mother of two, who was pretty much stuck in life doing the bare minimum, and believed in me. They gave me a chance to express my talents and gifts in order to better serve the community. They also allowed me the opportunity to connect with my purpose. I am here to help others find a way out of no way.
Throughout all the trainings, workshops and countless social engagements, I started to remember who I was and what I brought to the “equation called life.” I brought hope that you too can dig deep and grasp anything your heart desires, anything you reach to seek no matter the situation. I realized you do not have to let your circumstances define you.
This is the mindset I chose to keep during the 10-month program. While serving at my placement, I filled my purpose by contributing to a cause.
I never want to take this experience for granted. I learned so much along the way and will carry this information with me forever. Coming into Public Allies, I was just a stay-at-home mom; entering back into the workforce was another challenge of its own. However, I got out of my own way and proved it to myself that I belong and I am useful. While at my placement, my position was Post Office specialist and I ran the only Post Office in the United States whose mission is to serve individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Often we do not realize how important it is when fighting homelessness to have a reliable address, in order to have access to medical information, SSI benefits, medicines and correspondence with our housing partners.
In addition, I gained useful organizational skills, learned attention to detail, customer service skills, capacity building and how to create systems for the longevity of the partner organization. When I thought I was giving back to our clients, they were giving me what I have been missing for some time now: humbleness. I worked with people who were down on their luck, maybe even at rock bottom, and saw that they could still smile and give me a little joke along with some kind words. That is the circle of life, to know that no matter how far we believe ourselves to be separated, we are still so close. I will forever be grateful for the Human Service Campus-Lodestar Day Resource Center for allowing me be part of something so great and powerful. This experience will stay with me for a lifetime. What Public Allies means to me in a couple words…LIFE CHANGING!
Pamela Timmons was part of Public Allies' Class 12. She was placed at Lodestar Day Resource Center as a Post Office Specialist. Public Allies Arizona is a 10-month apprenticeship program designed to develop the next generation of civic leaders.