Public Allies Arizona and the ASU Lodestar Center present
Presentations of Impact 2021
Join us in celebrating our Public Allies as they display the work they have accomplished to positively impact our communities in 2021.
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.
2020-21 Public Allies
The Opportunity Tree
Female. Muslim. South Asian. All of these identities came with experiences that showed me the utmost importance of creating a just and equitable society. Mr. Rogers once said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Mr. Rogers was a role model for me as a kid and throughout adulthood. His words, profound and relevant, gave me peace of mind and hope. Hi, my name is Rida Ali and I am an Ally. Always motivated to uplift and empower others, my journey to Public Allies started much earlier than this past Summer 2020.
In May of 2020, I graduated from Arizona State University with my Bachelor’s degree in Public Health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic exacerbated the uncertainties and uneasiness I had with graduating from college. I had successfully graduated from college as a first-generation American however I was still unsure about what my next steps were. I came across the Public Allies website one day and decided to submit a last-minute application. Although I did not know much about the program initially, the Public Allies program was exactly what I was looking for.
Special Olympics Arizona
Before finding Public Allies Arizona, I went to Northern Arizona University. It was at NAU that I discovered my love for psychology, health and wellness and statistics. Upon graduating with my master’s I decided I wanted to focus on my mental health and well being and explore some of my passions related to it. So, I enrolled in a 200-hour yoga teacher training. As I went through my training it helped me to realize I wanted to find a job where I could help others while still using skills I gained in college. As I was researching, I came upon PAAZ. I immediately knew this was the right next step for me.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
My name is Natasha Cole and this is my Presentation of Impact. I was born in Southern California and have lived all around Arizona for most of my life. I am currently in the process of enrolling for fall classes at Arizona State University to continue my journey on pursuing my master’s degree in business management. I came across Public Allies during a Google search on how I can volunteer and give back within the community. I saw volunteer opportunities within the program and saw that Public Allies was a program I definitely wanted to be a part of based off of similar principles we both shared.
My name is Jennifer Gonzalez, and I was a Public Ally placed at Terros Health this year. I’m originally from Phoenix but have spent the last four years away at college in California. The past couple of years have been my most formative and aided me most in learning more about my values and goals. The past year especially has been the most instrumental in my growth - especially paired with Public Allies. My journey with Public Allies started in the summer of 2020. I was a recent grad that knew that I wanted to spend the next couple of years in Arizona paying it forward before applying to medical school.
John Paul Leslie
Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun
The sun was hot but my spirit burned brighter inflamed by the desire to help my Arizona neighbors live happier, safer and better lives. This year I’ve gone all out to give back to my community through my constant, continued devotion to promoting the concepts of friendship, justice and learning. Building ramps and revitalizing communities was only the first step toward improving my neighbor’s lives. I’ve created sustainable solutions both for my placement organization and my community. Beginning a new life in Arizona was challenging but worth the dedication and effort.
Hi, my name is Greggory Ohannessian! I am a second year Executive Ally of Public Allies Arizona. I am a person with Autism; but I identify as an Autistic person because my disability is essential to my identity. In 2019, I found Public Allies at a job fair. At the same time, the director of Ridgeline Academy, a K-12 public charter school in Phoenix, wanted to hire me. He suggested combining the two, which led to being placed in my first year as an Intervention Research Specialist. This year, I returned to Ridgeline as an Intervention and Community Development Fellow. My first objective was developing the sensory room at the elementary campus.
Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun
Hi, my name is Gabby and I was placed at Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun for my term as a Public Ally. During my term I was also a full-time student at ASU studying nonprofit leadership and management, while obtaining my Certified Nonprofit Professional credential through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association. A little bit more about me is that I love to travel to experience different cultures, try new local coffee shops around Arizona, and of course go to brunch with my friends. When I applied to be a Public Ally, I’ll be honest I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting
Hi! My name is Alex, short for Lexington, Turek. I’m a disabled neurodivergent queer woman, and I’m here presenting how I’ve helped impact things. I’m a first-year ally working under the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting, unfortunately affectionately known as Phoenix’s greatest kept secret, as their Outreach Coordinator. Under the Hall, I’ve certainly performed outreach here and there, but it’s not all I’ve done. I’ve successfully updated and restored the museum’s email roster, allowing them to begin sending out newsletters. There was a fun little endeavor of cleaning out all my “mail failed’s” after the first time.
Greetings! My name is DL White, actually my government name is Danny Levius. I use the (DL) as a result of my having written a children’s book ("The Sensational Letter S") a few years ago, the first in what I envision and plan to be a series to encourage and foster a heightened awareness of word development/recognition and reading comprehension by early learners (Pre-K through 3rd grade). My journey in becoming a Public Ally was nothing short of mysterious. I received an email from an unknown source inviting me to participate by completing the initial interest form in late January 2020.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley
I am a first-year Public Ally serving my term of service with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley. In this position, my responsibilities included 1) enhancing the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of organizational staff, 2) constructing ongoing professional development opportunities for organizational staff, and 3) helping establish a culture of learning and quality through shared leadership. I actually started my Public Allies journey back in September 2019. I had just earned my degrees from Arizona State University. However, the pathway I had thought I wanted didn’t inspire passion and happiness like I thought it would.
Hello, my name is Carlos Enrique Castillo, but most of you know me as Lito. For the last nine months I have been working as a second year Executive Ally, and from the day that I’m writing this I have a little over a month until graduation. These last two years of service have felt like both a lifetime and a blink of an eye all rolled up in one. When I look back to the person I was back in 2019 when I started my first term of service to the person I have become now, I could not be prouder. All the goals and challenges I never thought possible to achieve have been conquered.
Hi, my name is Alessandra Cebreros and in September of 2020 I became a Public Ally in Tucson, Arizona. Prior to joining Public Allies, I had recently graduated from college. I am the first college graduate in my entire family, so it was a big deal to graduate not only for me but to set an example for the younger generation in my family. Even though graduating was an amazing accomplishment, it has come with a lot of pressure. I am pretty sure I applied to over 100 jobs, with not much confidence in the type of experience I had achieved by then. When I heard of Public Allies, I jumped to the opportunity.
Special Olympics Arizona
Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to any of you reading this. This is my presentation of impact. My name is Marissa Renee Figueroa, but most people call me Figs and, well, I wanted to share with you a little story of how I got here. This is about a year ago, where my journey begins. I was adrift, lost at sea. Full of passion and desire to change things, but with no direction I would be lucky enough to stumble across Public Allies Arizona. And sitting in my closet, I would interview to become a Public Ally. A few more months and a few more closet conversations later, I would be able to attend my first training as a Public Ally.
Hi, my name is Brianna and I am a first-year Public Ally. I am serving as the Outreach Facilitator at Saving Amy. Prior to joining Public Allies, I attended Barrett, the Honors College at ASU where I completed dual degrees in psychology and criminal justice. I remember coming into college feeling very lost and uncertain about my interests, passions and values. The only thing I was truly certain of was that I wanted to pursue a career where I could actively engage with and serve my community. I joined a service sorority and other organizations to get a feel for where I may best serve.
At the ASU Office of Community Health, Engagement and Resiliency, we work to create and implement interventions and strategies aimed to improve/strengthen pathways so that all people are able to achieve their full potential. We work to identify and address social determinants of health, implement place-based initiatives, and work collaboratively with cross-sector partners through the Thrive in the 05 initiative for the betterment of Southern AZ. Our Thrive in the 05 initiative is a collaborative partnership with the City of Tucson and PCC that works to implement community-driven solutions.
The Opportunity Tree
So 2020 was an awful year and that was before the pandemic.for me and honestly things got worse… Around the time stuff really hit the fan, I managed to get word of Public Allies Arizona. So you know the Peace Corp? The foundation ya boi been wanting to join since he was like 8 or 9? Turns out they have a local state branch! Hi, my name is Juan and I am a Public Ally. Public Allies Arizona is a social justice organization dedicated to changing the face of leadership, with a passion for social impact to create meaningful changes in our community. We are diverse, equity-centered, innovative problem solvers, dedicated to mobilizing community assets to develop solutions to local challenges.
Casa Grande Alliance
My name is Lex Solberg and I'm serving a 10-month term with Public Allies Arizona as an Intervention and Community Development Fellow. Starting from the beginning, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do after I stopped working due to COVID. It wasn't until I talked to my friend Kelsi that she mentioned a thing called AmeriCorps. Unsure of what she was even talking about, I asked her questions about it...which eventually led me to apply, get interviews, and get accepted into the program! I was accepted into Public Allies Arizona and was placed in Casa Grande at the Casa Grande Alliance.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley
My name is Jordyn. This is my second year as a Public Ally, and for both years, I was placed with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley. This year, I was their Volunteer Resource Development Liaison, which focused on the volunteer engagement, volunteer services, and resource development areas. A little bit about me: I am a second-year Public Ally, so I’ve completed nearly 20 months of AmeriCorps service, both with Public Allies and with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley. I’m also an ASU student – triple majoring in Political Science, Public Policy and Public Service, as well as Anthropology.