Who are you?
Where are you going?
How do you get there?
These life questions become more and more difficult to answer in the midst of an ever changing global community.
Finding your niche, knowing what road to travel and, most importantly, having faith in yourself to follow your dreams are imperative components of any good leader.
But there is the hanging question: Can I really lead? I, like many of my fellow Public Allies, had a strong sense of urgency to figure out life and become this awesome person everyone else said they saw in me. But how do I get there?
I moved to Miami for graduate school and after my first year I was miserable. I hated the city, realized the graduate program wasn’t for me, and longed to return home. As I began to contemplate leaving the city, a friend of mine handed me a flier for Public Allies (PA) Miami. DING! A light turned on in me. As I read about the program, my interest and respect for the organization grew. I applied and was accepted into the 2012-2013 PA Miami class.
Despite the challenges, this is one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far.
Often times my fellow Allies and I get together and talk about life, our placements, our next steps, and our passions. I stopped to ponder over my work as a Public Ally in Miami and discovered how instrumental this program has been in helping me shape and define my ambitions.
Many people join AmeriCorps programs during transitional periods in life. Rather than sitting stagnant or wandering aimlessly through life, we seek to fulfill our sense of commitment to the greater good or take advantage of the opportunity to travel to other countries and become enriched by new cultures.
But what about all of the diverse cultures here? What about the commitment to myself?
After talking to my fellow Allies, I realized that one of the things that resonated with all of us about the program is the opportunity for and emphasis on self-growth.
Public Allies is not just about how you can help others, it’s about how you can help others by helping yourself.
Our five core values are: collaboration, continuous learning, diversity and inclusion, asset-based thinking, and integrity. Each of the Allies has their own story, area of interest, and innate talents. We are a diverse group. But what bonds us together is the sense of home we have found with each other.
I have found that the Miami Allies are some of the most inclusive people I have ever met and we enjoy the diversity we share.
Allies are accountable to each other. We respect each other and value each other’s insight. Aristotle said, “it is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.” You cannot win a debate with a PA Miami member because we are too strong minded and quick witted but, you should debate us because we will hold you to your beliefs.
The Miami Ally experience is helping all of us to define our personal values. The activities, the training, the coaching sessions, the companionship strengthens who we are as people. When Paul Schmitz, the CEO of Public Allies, came to visit us, we discussed what it was that made a bad leader, the answer is lack of integrity.
What you do, how you think and feel, and your opinions are all a part of your leadership style.
One of the most valuable aspects of the program is the opportunity for the Ally to step back and say, “this is how I want to be perceived, this is my self-image, and this is what I need to work on to make sure I’m projecting that to other.”
Look for Part 2 next week!
Post Written By:
Butler Center for Service and Leadership
Office of Civic and Community Engagement