I’m a Change-Maker

A long time ago, in galaxy far far way (OK, 10 years ago) I participated in a program called Public Allies which nurtures emerging community leaders and places them for 10-month internships at nonprofits. Public Allies was founded in 1992 and is located in 11 different communities around the country.

Since the number of alumni at PA is growing each year, the programs to support us have also been growing. They recently established the “Change-Maker Award” which is an opportunity for each site to honor an alum who has given back to the community. Each of the winners gets to compete for one national Change-Maker Award. I am proud to say that I am the winner of the Public Allies North Carolina Change-Maker Award for 2005!

The only info I could find about myself and the other winners is on the password-protected alumni website, so I’m taking the liberty of posting it here for the rest of the world:

Change-Maker Profile: Aquil Charlton, Chicago ’01, and April Kunze, Chicago ’00
Public Allies Chicago alumni Aquil Charlton, class of 2001, and April Kunze, class of 2000, are founding members of the Crib Collective. The organization’s mission is to create a culture of social entrepreneurship among youth in Chicago’s North Lawndale and Little Village communities. The Crib Collective runs programs that holistically cultivate young people’s personal power, their ability to partner with others across social boundaries and their collective power to transform our communities. Congratulations, Aquil and April!

Changer-Maker Profile: Richard Rone, Cincinnati ’99
As a member of PA Cincinnati’s inaugural class, Richard served 500 inner-city youth through his placement with Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, a reading-based enrichment program. He has remained active in the community as Program Director for Services United for Mothers and Adolescents. He has also developed Critical Athletic Thinking, a curriculum to encourage the participants of a summer day camp to focus on goals and enhance their self-esteem. Congratulations, Richard!

Change-Maker Profile: Emily Falcon, Delaware ’02
While a member of the PA Delaware class of 2002, Emily apprenticed at AIDS Delaware. She has since been active in the political process, including serving as Delaware’s youngest delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. She is currently a policy advisor to Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner. Congratulations, Emily!

Change-Maker Profile: Evelin Montes, Los Angeles ’00
A member of the Public Allies Los Angeles class of 2000, Evelin Montes was placed at the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). She currently serves as Director of Community Organizing at Collective SPACE (Social Power through Action and Community Education). As Director, her main responsibility is leading the development of a community-driven direct action campaign to improve housing and healthy living conditions. Congratulations, Evelin!

Change-Maker Profile: Rafael Acevedo, Milwaukee ’99
Since serving at the Nonprofit Management Fund as a member of the PA Milwaukee class of 1999, Rafael worked at Planned Parenthood for a number of years before going on to become the Executive Director of the Latino Health Organization. Congratulations, Rafael!

Change-Maker Profile: Steve Ramos, New York ’00
Steve Ramos, an alumnus of the Public Allies New York class of 2000, has remained at his placement, Helping Hands Community Center, a project of Fresh Youth Initiatives, since his Ally year. Steve, who has been promoted from Group Leader to Associate Executive Director during that time, has been instrumental in keeping Helping Hands, New York City’s only youth-run food pantry, up and running. He has implemented the Public Allies value of focusing on assets by developing a youth leaders program through which 15 young residents have provided over 7,500 hours of community service. Congratulations, Steve!

Change-Maker Profile: Ruby Sinreich, North Carolina ’95
Since apprenticing at The Women’s Center as part of the Public Allies North Carolina class of 1995, Ruby Sinreich has been training community leaders to use the internet to mobilize for social action. In 2003 she founded orangepolitics.org to enable Orange County, North Carolina, residents to discuss progressive politics. Congratulations, Ruby!

Change-Maker Profile: Melia Dicker, Silicon Valley ’04
While an Ally in the Public Allies Silicon Valley class of 2004, Melia Dicker served in the Mountain View Whisman School District. This experience led her to found Resonate, a new nonprofit organization that gives young people a voice, an engaging academic and communal experience and a chance to explore their skills and interests in apprenticeships. Congratulations, Melia!

Change-Maker Profile: Paul Griffin, Washington DC ’94
As an Ally in 1994, Paul Griffin served on the founding staff of a cross-cultural arts program for high school students called City at Peace, serving as Artistic Director for five years. Paul then founded City at Peace’s national office, whose mission it was to grow the program to other communities. Paul has helped launch City at Peace programs in seven US cities as well as international programs in Israel and Cape Town. Congratulations, Paul!

It’s a great honor to be recognized among these other community leaders (although my blurb seems relatively anemic). Here’s the punchline: “Each local winner will receive $250 which can be used towards opportunities in the Continuous Learning Fund or donated to a nonprofit organization. Winners will also receive a physical award from Public Allies, and various other benefits. ” When I was notified of my award I was told that the prize also includes 3 pairs of Polo jeans! I wonder if they make them in reubenesque sizes for short women like me. 😉

Now I get to decide to which nonprofit I should give the donation. Internationalist Books & Community Center, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, ACLU of North Carolina all come to mind, but I’m open to suggestions. Maybe I should give it to the other group that nurtured my youthful community leadership skills – the Student Environmental Action Coalition.

7 thoughts on “I’m a Change-Maker

  1. I am such a fundraiser- as soon as I saw you could donate the money to a nonprofit, I was thinking Internationalist. Of course, I think PP is also worthy. Maybe you could split it up?

  2. Thanks, Kelly! 😉

    Internationalist is definitely in the running, but I have a lot of competing priorities…

    And what will I do with all those jeans?

  3. I know all you readers are waiting to hear what happens with this… not really, but here’s an update anyway. 😉

    The bad news is that the free Polo jeans aren’t available in petite. The smallest inseam is 30″, and I’m only 60″ tall! That’s just not gonna work.

    But the good news is that as a result of the publicity around the award, the News & Observer is considering making me their Tarheel of the Week sometime soon, which is very nice. I will certainly let you know if and when that happens.

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