Carlos (Lito) Castillo: Presentations of Impact 2020

Carlos (Lito) Castillo: Presentations of Impact 2020

Hello, my name is Carlos Enrique Castillo, but most of you know me as Lito. For the last seven months I have been working as a Public Ally, and it is bizarre that as of the day I’m writing this I only have two months until graduation. These last seven months have been some of the most confusing months of my life, but also some of the most rewarding. You know, ten months sounds like such a long time, but I can say with confidence that it’s flown by at a velocity of Mach 10. Before Public Allies I was working a job that did not fulfill me, but I stayed at just because I was comfortable; there’s something to say about complacency. It wasn’t until my partner’s good friend; a Public Allies alumnus shared his experience with the program and put me in contact with Jake Teskey that I felt I finally had reason to push myself. After having a one-on-one discussion with Jake, I submitted my application and while I was on the road heading to San Diego for vacation, I got the email accepting me into the program. After a long interview process with multiple organizations I was placed with the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE), nonprofit agency that is dedicated to expanding access and increasing success in postsecondary education for Arizonans.

In my time with the commission I have been able to gain first-hand experience as a program specialist. At the ACPE, I performed my role as the College and Career Goal Arizona (C2GA) Program Specialist, where I was able to provide support to partnered schools. Another key function of my role is assisting in the organization of College Goal FAFSA and College Application Campaign Events. These types of events give high-school students an opportunity to apply for federal aid (FAFSA), and work on their college applications. I have assisted in managing websites, including updating the Arizona FAFSA Challenge Calendar, and creating and posting promotional material for social media. Some of the most important accomplishments I had were to successfully create, develop, and implement three different efficiency strategies as part of my service objectives for ACPE.

My service objectives constituted of creating and implementing a new social media strategy while assisting in the creation of promotional material. These materials were then posted on the C2GA Facebook and Twitter pages to encourage readers towards postsecondary options and sharing updates on current event data. I also created a recruitment/registration strategy for new schools and returning schools, which consists of a master worksheet where the ACPE staff can go to view all the most up to date data regarding said events. Lastly, I assisted in the creation of the College & Career Guide booklet for 2020 – 2021, which is a comprehensive online listing of all public and licensed private universities, colleges and vocational institutions in the State of Arizona, including degree and program information.

Thanks to these focus areas I have been able to learn new skills and better enhance existing skills. Many of the projects I have worked on utilize my natural affinity for data organization, such as managing the website and database with event data and volunteer information. Learning and improving on my graphic design skills while working on media projects is another rewarding opportunity for skill development that my work at the Commission has offered to me. I have had the opportunity to work on my professional communication skills, from writing call to action recruitment letters, to everyday organizational correspondence.

My favorite thing about Public Allies has been the cooperation between all the members of the Team Service Project (TSP) I had the pleasure of working with. The “Light is Green” is a video series we created with hopes to expand the knowledge of mindfulness practices and mental health services around the valley. With everybody’s hard work, we were able to create three videos which will be uploaded to YouTube, that go over some of our knowledge regarding mindfulness. Luckily, we were able to gain further assistance from a licensed councilor, Claudia Lopez was able to go deeper into the topic from the point of view of a professional in the field. Our hopes with this project were to create a sustainable resource that would act as a hub, where we could house and share resources via the internet.

Looking to the future, I plan on serving a second term with Public Allies, where I will be able to gain further experience in the nonprofit sector. Following my second term, I plan on using my two education awards to attend business school and law school to hopefully someday become a defense lawyer. I am very excited to see how far I can reach, and to see where I will end up in the world. Currently I will focus on what I can mold, by completing my 1700 hours and graduating from the program. These last ten months have been some of the most rewarding months of my life and I cannot wait to do it once again.