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Join us in celebrating our Public Allies as they display the work they have accomplished to positively impact our communities in 2020.
Explore stories of impact, collaboration and innovation, and learn about the significance of Public Allies from the participants, nonprofit partners and our local community.
Start your tour of the exhibit by watching this introductory video.
It was January 2019 and I was beginning a new semester at Pima Community College to study Business Administration and working full time at a grocery store. I was thinking about where the next year would take me and I honestly had no idea. That same month, I received an email from my professor sharing an internship opportunity with Public Allies Arizona.
I had never heard of Public Allies before, but once I looked into the organization, I could tell it was something special and powerful. I joined Public Allies to engage with my community and define my own assets so I could give back in a meaningful way. I think it was perfect that I matched for a position at Pima.
When I interact with the community, I find myself. I find myself connecting. I find myself back where I loved being as a little girl. I find myself doing my dream job. I find myself leading. Being in the community I have found myself. Hi, I'm Allison Castro, a Public Ally working as an outreach coordinator with Tucson Clean & Beautiful.
Being an outreach coordinator I have had the opportunity to join the community through the eyes of a nonprofit that open up opportunities to those that are often seen or are treated as less or often judged for their cultures, beliefs, and unique beauty.
The impact Public Allies has had on me is one beyond what I ever thought it would be. Through Public Allies Arizona, I have learned to appreciate and love my community and nature. Through my TSP, I found a new love for plants and nature thanks to a few Allies I worked with for my TSP project. I found joy in volunteering and getting together with my fellow Allies and members of the community. I found that I have a true gift for helping others. Public Allies allowed me to learn about my community and the importance of being in love with my community. My placement with Pima has taught me responsibility, to be organized, and how to communicate better.
Public Allies has been one of the greatest working experiences I have ever had. It all started when I was in an in-between phase and I was tired of pointless jobs. I found Public Allies Arizona on my Pima account, and I applied on a whim. Three interviews later, I became an Ally. It was a challenging experience at times, but I feel like it was the best kind of challenging. It helped me grow in a way where no other job or program has done.
This road has not been an easy one. Coming from a small town across the US, with everything I could fit in my car was a big test of bravery for me. I told myself if I could at least get here, I could do anything. With no family, very minimal friends, and no job lined up, I didn’t know what was in store.
I was very hard on myself to get things done in a short amount of time like getting a job and an apartment. It didn’t take long before I had my own little pad with friends and a decent job. I couldn’t have asked for more. However, little did I know there were bigger plans in store for me.
Ten months ago, in February 2020, I had the privilege of joining Public Allies Arizona.
After living in Mexico for the most part of my life, I decided to come to the U.S. in the summer of 2018, at 19 years old. Having to adapt to and go through all the challenges of such a change has not been easy, but fortunately, I’ve been surrounded by people that are constantly supporting me.
When I began my journey as an AmeriCorps Public Ally, I was kind of directionless. I went to school for Conservation Biology, which I loved, but after college I knew that I wanted to move back home to Tucson and work to make more of an impact on social and environmental issues locally. However, although I knew generally what impact I wanted to make, I wasn’t sure what steps I needed to take to make my goals a reality. I had plenty of ideas about what I didn’t want to do with my career, but not what I did.
While having the opportunity to be in Public Allies, I have learned to connect avenues in life that I couldn't have imagine existed. I am now able to approach life situations accordingly, and I'm able to identify my strengths and weaknesses. I realize how much I have improved on in life, and things that I am still needing to improve on. Working with the City of Tucson has been such a great experience.
How many times a day do you find yourself questioning life as it happens in front of you? Are you thinking something like, “Wow, what did I do to deserve this?” or is it more like, “Ugh, what did I do to deserve this?”
I’ll tell you the truth: for me, it was the 2nd way. A LOT. Like, a lot a lot.
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.
My journey to how I was placed here was interesting but simple at the same time. About a year and half ago, I was feeling stuck. I had a job working at a retail store for 12 years. I enjoyed the job, the people I worked with, and the customers. However, this job was very stagnant
Hello! My name is Greggory Ohannessian, and I am an Autistic person who is a member of Public Allies Arizona. If you have met me, you know I am upfront about my disability. Get to know me better, and I will tell you about my wants, dreams, goals, interests, and so on.
I knew I had a passion for creating positive social impact—environmental or otherwise—but I struggled with my how. Upon graduating Arizona State University last May with a bachelor’s degree in conservation biology, I found myself glued to my parent’s sofa, anxiously binge-watching all eight seasons of Vampire Diaries and wondering, “what now?”
I’m a big believer in Chaos theory – which a lot of you might know better by calling it the butterfly effect. Basically, it means that a small decision might affect the trajectory of your entire life. I definitely believe that walking up to the Ally table at the internship fair was one of those decisions.
My name is Jamie Bisesi and I chose to become a Public Ally for many reasons. The main reason is to serve my community. When I first found out about the Public Allies program, I knew that it was a program I needed to participate in.
Hi, my name is Kristina De Luna and I would like to talk to you about my journey in Public Allies, what I learned, what I gained, and how I made an impact. To be honest, I have always wanted to join Public Allies.
Growing up, I knew I had passion and creativity and the drive to support those around me. I’ve never been one to shy away from helping, even if it’s dirty, hard work.
Throughout Public Allies I have formed my own life path. I had to learn how to be an adult, how to work and go to school full time, and how to become myself. There were many challenges, even before COVID, but I always bounced back better than ever.
My story started in the spring of 2019. I was 23 years old, I had graduated from college the year before and I was living in my hometown on the eastern shore of Maryland, working a job at my hometown’s YMCA.
Summer 2019 was the most glorious milestone in my 23-year lifetime. It was the year I graduated from Arizona State University, and it was also the year I enrolled for Public Allies.
I thought I knew my interest when I started Public Allies. I was wrong. We all have moments where we ask ourselves, “what am I doing here?” or “where do I go from here?” As humans we crave certainty, but it's best to let yourself figure it out along the way and enjoy every moment.
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.
As a member of Public Allies I was placed at Gregory’s Fresh Market. My mission is to help alleviate health-related challenges by providing an on-site mobile farmers market, nutritional cooking classes, fitness, and other support to address food insecurity, fall prevention, and socialization in order to minimize chronic health and social disparities experienced by low-income seniors and military veterans.
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be...”
I have always been that person who plans and thinks about the future 24/7. I have the need to constantly stay busy and productive in order to stay sane. For those of you who can relate you know how scary it is when your plans for the future change.
I never imagined that leaving my homeland and starting a new life in another country was going to be easy. For an immigrant like me, starting a new life, in a new country and in a new culture with a new language is always hard. However, I have always believed that no matter where you are in the world, you are capable of doing exceptional deeds without limitations.