Thursday, March 10, 2011

Agueda's Thoughts: Save Service!

Youth Mentoring Connection saves lives. Many people know that from participating in our programs, and going to our events. But there are two very important entities that make such work possible; first, the young people YMC serves and second, the staff members who do the work. This year, over 40% (including myself) of YMC's staff members come through a national public service program called Public Allies – Los Angeles. Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program, is a 10-month fellowship that focuses on creating young leaders for the non-profit sector. The allies are placed at a non-profit where they work full-time, they take classes at a local community college, attend trainings, participate in service days and create/implement their own team service projects. 

Public Allies changed MY life. I joined Public Allies in hopes of being part of space where I could learn more about the non-profit sector and what it takes to be effective in the community. Public Allies turned out to be way more than that.  I became part of a space in which I was encouraged to work on myself, to be self-reflective and practice self-awareness. I gained vital skills and tips to be able to work in a group effectively; I became informed and knowledgeable about an area of Los Angeles that I was a stranger to; but more importantly, I gained the emotional maturity that allowed me to understand and deconstruct my own process and view of the world. 

I can go on for days about how much Public Allies has impacted my life but overall, I just feel extremely privileged to be a part of this program. Without Public Allies I would not be able to do a lot of the work that I am currently doing. I have become a resource for young people who are over looked by our society. My experience has been one of a kind and I would hate for future applicants to be robbed of this experience. The existence of this amazing program is now being threatened by Congress. Public service programs are facing budget cuts and possible elimination nation wide. I ask you to call your Senators on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 and urge them to SAVE SERVICE!


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