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Jordyn Walhof MLK March 2020

Discovering her passion: Jordyn's journey with Public Allies Arizona

July 10, 2024 -  As a freshman at Arizona State University, Jordyn Walhof was studying political science, public policy, and anthropology, but she felt a pull toward the nonprofit world and wanted to gain hands-on experience in that sector. That's when she discovered ASU Lodestar Center’s Public Allies Arizona, a program that would shape her perspectives on social issues and community work.

Jordyn joined Public Allies Arizona during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, her two terms of service with Public Allies proved to be invaluable.

During her time with Public Allies Arizona, a 10-month apprenticeship program for emerging leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors, Jordyn worked with Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley, specifically in their volunteer management department. Her responsibilities included laying the groundwork for the database they now use to manage volunteers, as well as handling social media, recruitment and other tasks.

One of Jordyn's most memorable experiences during her time with Public Allies Arizona was the annual Stars of the Valley event, a charity gala hosted by the Boys and Girls Clubs. In her second year, she took on a leadership role, managing volunteers for the event held at State Farm Stadium.

"It was such a cool experience to be in the stadium, to have a position of leadership at that point for all the volunteer teams making the whole event run," Jordyn recalled.

Jordyn credits Public Allies with helping her step out of her comfort zone and build a supportive community. This experience enabled her to become more comfortable making connections and collaborating with others, a skill that has proven invaluable in her career.

"I think the community I've built in Public Allies really helped me to step out of my comfort zone a little bit," she said. "I didn't really make many connections at the point where I started Public Allies, and that was one of my big goals – to create a group,  and have a circle of people."

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic presented significant challenges during her time with Public Allies. However, Jordyn and her colleagues found innovative ways to adapt, such as transitioning to virtual volunteering and developing online programs to engage with the club's members.

Juggling her studies at ASU and her placement with Public Allies was no easy feat, but Jordyn managed to strike a balance with the support of her field placement supervisor.

"I was super fortunate," she said. "She was absolutely amazing at letting me put my arms where they needed to go."

Jordyn found that some of her university classes closely aligned with her work at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley, allowing her to make connections between theory and practice.

Even after completing her time with Public Allies Arizona, Jordyn has maintained connections with her cohort and continues to be involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs, often volunteering at their events.

Looking ahead, Jordyn plans to further her education by pursuing a graduate degree in international relations or global affairs, building on her professional experience working with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in their safety and wellness department.

For those considering applying to Public Allies Arizona, Jordyn's advice is simple: fully commit to the program and embrace every opportunity it presents.

"If you're going to do it, you've got to jump in fully and just embrace the program for what it is," she said. "I find that the people who did that had the most successful run in the program as well."

Jordyn's journey with Public Allies Arizona not only allowed her to explore her passions but also equipped her with valuable skills and experiences that continue to shape her career path. Her story is an inspiration for anyone seeking to make a meaningful impact in their community while discovering their true calling.

Image: Jordyn Walhof at the 2020 Mesa MLK Day Parade

Story by Nyasha Mhungu, ASU Lodestar Center

 


 

Host an emerging leader as a Partner Organization with Public Allies Arizona

Do you have a project that you would love to implement, but lack the staff capacity or other resources?  We help our partners increase their capacity to achieve their mission by matching them with diverse, talented individuals from the community.

Public Allies Arizona places these emerging leaders in full-time service to nonprofits in Phoenix and Tucson communities. These nonprofits, called Partner Organizations, are chosen based on their ability to provide the Ally with significant work experience, as well as their need for an innovative young leader who can help them take on a project they otherwise could not afford or infuse energy into an existing project.