Klesia Garcia: Presentations of Impact 2020

Klesia Garcia: Presentations of Impact 2020

I have always been a person to just jump into things without giving it much thought. So, you can imagine that’s exactly how I started Public Allies. All I knew was that I loved volunteering and that I wanted a break from college, my job at the Italian ice shop and myself. I wanted to do more for others.

I was introduced to it by my mom, who was a member of Survivor Link through AmeriCorps. I found the Public Allies opportunity by researching other AmeriCorps programs and contacted them. When I began the process, I wasn’t aware of the duration and amount of self advocation that came with getting accepted into the program. That was just the beginning. I realized from then on that being a member of PA would require lots of determination and work. I committed and was ready for the huge hike ahead.

The acceptance process was tough but once I made it into Public Allies, I felt great victory and motivation to do well. Finally, the interviews were over. Next thing I know, I’m preparing for three more interviews. These were supposed to help us determine what non – profit organization was the right fit. I was placed with AZCEND. An amazing organization that changes lives.

“We change lives by nourishing minds and bodies to create a connected, thriving community.”

Becoming the Family Resource Coordinator at AZCEND was fulfilling. Something that I have always wanted in a “job” and life in general. I am so grateful for the co-workers who have now moved on but were there at the start of my term and the ones who are still there who showed me the ropes and took me in openly. Immediately AZCEND became a place that I felt a part of and that I wanted to work with. As the Family Resource Coordinator, my main job is to outreach to families, create partnerships with organizations and be involved in the community. To be a person of the people. Being at AZCEND has been an eye opener and despite my efforts to see the world in many ways other than mine, this was the one that gave me sight.

AZCEND and PA have provided me with many opportunities, and I took them. For years I have been more of an observer, someone who stood back and cringed at the thought of being called on. Who stepped up to the plate only when necessary and shied away from the spotlight in the professional world. Now I am one of the first to volunteer for activities and events to be a part of at AZCEND, initiating conversation, speaking my ideas out loud and bringing them to life. I have seen great personal and professional growth becoming an ally.

I was 18 when I began this journey, unaware of the immense need for persistence, time management, hard work and all together big responsibilities that came with becoming an ally. With the exception of now having to buy my own toothbrush, it is definitely the most “adult” thing I have done yet. I can say with confidence that being involved with this amazing program and the beautiful people in it, has prepared me for any path that I end up choosing in life and will always be kept in heart and mind.