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by Troy Hill, ASU Lodestar Center
September 25, 2019
The newest cohort of Public Allies Arizona launched the program year on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, at the 2019 Public Allies Arizona Induction Ceremony and Luncheon in downtown Phoenix. The 15 members of Class 14 will spend the next 10 months working and learning at nonprofit and public organizations across the Valley, from the Anthony Bates Foundation to the YWCA.
Fernando Ayala Carvajal, a new Ally working at Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun (RTVOS), said that as a person who likes to help people, Public Allies was his chance to do what he loved.
“This was the perfect opportunity to do it, to get out of the current situation that I was in - working a lot of kitchens, and then [now transitioning] into public service, humanitarianism,” Carvajal said.
Public Allies Arizona is part of the national AmeriCorps Public Allies program that pairs up “Allies” with local nonprofits in an effort to get them in a beneficial environment where they can get experience and become the leaders that the future will need.
Each new cohort begins with Core Training, where Allies learn the keys to success in the program; Core Retreat, where the Allies and Program Managers head out of town to develop a sense of camaraderie and community; and finally the Induction Luncheon, where members of Public Allies, the ASU Lodestar Center and the Partner Organizations celebrate the new cohort as they are officially inducted into the program.
Carvajal said that he enjoys the demographic of his Partner Organization, which provides “free critical home repairs, safety modifications and energy-efficient improvements for low-income seniors, families, veterans and disabled individuals,” according to the RTVOS website.
“For the low-income senior citizens, I don't feel like there's a lot of focus on that group,” Carvajal said. “It'd be nice to get in there and really try to make a difference for them.”
Carvajal said that he is also looking forward to working on himself during his time with RTVOS, including improving his public speaking, outreach and large-crowd skills.
Carvajal has been working at RTVOS for the last two weeks, and he said that they have been great so far.
“[There has been] a lot of learning, learning about the program, the history, my Partner Organization,” Carvajal said. “I'm just excited to start this journey and kick some butt.”
Samira Amin signed up for a second year in Public Allies, this time getting placed at Thunderbirds Charities. She said she’s eager to deepen her knowledge about grant writing and much more during her time with the public grantmaking organization.
“I definitely hope to gain more confidence and just get that guidance and grow as a leader, for my professional future,” Amin said.
Amin said that she looks forward to the various opportunities afforded to her by Thunderbirds Charities, including involvement in the upcoming 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament run by The Thunderbirds. The tournament and The Thunderbirds’ charitable arm have raised more than $147 million for Arizona charities.
Cheryl Ruggiero, the director of charitable giving at The Thunderbirds and a member of the ASU Lodestar Center’s Community Leadership Council, said she is very excited about hosting Amin.
“We have not had an intern before so we're excited to acclimate her into our culture,” Ruggiero said of the apprenticeship. “We're going to have a good time. We're excited about the opportunities.”
Ruggiero said she has no worries about her Ally -- except making sure Amin gets everything she wants out of the program.
“I hope to guide her through all the different worthy nonprofits that do such incredible work. We, fortunately, have a broad mission,” Ruggiero said. “So I'm hoping that I give her a taste for all of these different areas.”
Ruggiero said she was also excited to see what Amin will do with her time in their organization.
“She will, in turn, help us be able to dive deeper into these areas because she'll have a fresh outlook on the work we do,” Ruggiero said. “It's a win-win.”
Ruggiero said that this will be a good year to establish protocols for Allies so they can look into expanding in the future.
The Public Allies mission is to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. Carvajal said that starts with people helping one another in the world.
“You, just by being alive, breathing, being able to walk and see and talk - they're all blessings that we have, and they're all the tools needed to really help somebody else,” Carvajal said. “No matter what your income is, no matter where you're at demographically, there's a human nearby that could use your help, and people should do that.”
Members from the Public Allies Alumni Network Committee (PAANC) also attended the induction event. The committee connects Allies with alumni during and after the program, and keeps alumni plugged into the program and their cohort after their service is over.
Ashely Dickerson, a Public Allies alumna on the Public Allies alumni network committee, said they are offering more opportunities throughout the year for alumni to stay connected, including an upcoming Ally-alumni mixer.