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Lodestar Center graduates 2nd Public Allies Arizona class

August 13, 2008

The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation graduated its second Public Allies Arizona class June 25 at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

Public Allies is an AmeriCorps national youth leadership organization that places service-minded young people in apprenticeships in nonprofit organizations throughout the community. It identifies talented young adults from diverse backgrounds and advances their leadership through a 10-month program of full-time, paid apprenticeships in nonprofit organizations, leadership training and team service projects.

“It’s funny how rarely you think about the nonprofit sector if you’re not embedded in it,” says Public Allies graduate Jocelyn Fong.

“Public Allies expanded my awareness and understanding of this third sector and the crucial role that it plays in our society, filling in the gaps left by public and private institutions. Wherever I end up in my career, this knowledge of the nonprofit sector will have had a huge impact on my perspective and on my work.”

Completing its second year in Arizona, Public Allies recognized 20 allies and the 16 partner organization nonprofits where the allies completed their apprenticeships. They are:

• Abigail Aballe, Valley of the Sun United Way.

• Yasameen Aboozar, Childhelp USA.

• Matt Besenfelder, Helping Hands Housing Services.

• Brooke Carpenter, Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix.

• Elizabeth Celaya, Communities in Schools of Arizona.

• Ariel Collins, Central Arizona Shelter Services.

• Jocelyn Fong, Anytown Arizona Inc.

• Alton Gooden, Central Arizona Shelter Services.

• Ashley Graves, Rehoboth Community Development Corp.

• Karen Lee, Aid to Adoption of Special Kids.

• Denisse Leon, Anytown Arizona Inc.

• Siobhan McCurdy, Alzheimer’s Association.

• Heather Miles, Central Arizona Shelter Services.

• Erin Moore, Desert Botanical Garden.

• Rayshad Montgomery, Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

• Katrina Murray, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development.

• Amber Ringstad, Communities in Schools of Arizona.

• Armando Salazar, Communities in Schools of Arizona.

• Sherita Valentine, Beatitudes Center DOAR.

• Celia Williams, Public Allies Arizona.

“Childhelp’s experience with the Public Allies program the past two years has been excellent,” says Mark Publow, Childhelp’s vice president of strategic initiatives. “We take the idea of this being an apprenticeship experience with the nonprofit sector seriously, and have enjoyed seeing tremendous growth with our allies during their 10 months with us. Additionally, Childhelp has benefited greatly through the added staffing and the unique skills and experiences that our allies have brought to our organization.”

The ceremony included remarks from Debra Friedman, dean of the College of Public Programs and vice president of ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus; honorary ally award winner Alberto Olivas, director of voter outreach programs with Maricopa Community Colleges Center for Civic Participation; and nominated ally speaker Siobhan McCurdy.

“I realized my passion for connecting people through the use of art and design, while learning how people react differently to programs and events when all their senses are used,” says graduate Denisse Leon, who plans to attend the University of Kansas in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in graphic design. “It is through the use of these mediums that I believe a lot of cultural and sociological idiosyncrasies can be changed to create a more inclusive community – and, therefore, create social change.”

Additional information about the 2007-2008 year includes:

• Collectively, allies have served more than 34,800 hours.

• Allies have directly affected more than 14,276 people.

• Allies have recruited more than 2,175 volunteers, who have served more than 5,213 hours and influenced more than 12,513 people.

• Allies created more than 437 new community linkages on behalf of their partner organizations. Each new link represents new opportunities for information sharing, partnerships and collaborative projects.

In observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, allies engaged 50 youths in an Art for Justice Youth Writing Workshop in partnership with Make a Difference, Creighton Elementary School District, Boys & Girls Club of Metro Phoenix, and Communities In Schools of Arizona.

In recognition of Cesar Chavez Day, allies worked in partnership with the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation and Chicanos Por La Causa to lead more than 250 youth from Phoenix Elementary School District No. 1 on a march to the historic Santa Rita Center and served 250 youth in the Stay in School Celebration workshops.

On Make a Difference Day, allies worked with a Phoenix homeowner to paint her home in collaboration with Rebuilding Together’s Rock & Roll Paint-a-Thon.

In all, $94,500 in education award money has been earned by allies to access higher education or pay off student loans.

Also, 55 percent of allies are immediately using their education award to earn bachelor’s degrees or begin graduate school this fall.

More than 60 percent of the graduates were offered full-time employment at their nonprofit after graduation.

Amy Cox O’Hara,
(602) 496-0185
Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation