Path to Getting Things Done

23 Nov

Ever since I was a little girl growing up, I wanted to be an influential, important person.  Of course, to my 5-year old mind, this meant being a doctor, a lawyer, or another similar high-paying job that took years of schooling to achieve.

Obviously I’m not on the path to being any of these futures.  I started realizing that while we need people in these jobs, that wasn’t me.  Because I grew up with siblings with many disabilities, I had my head set on becoming a researcher or therapist to uncover the future of treatment for disorders. While I still think this is a great field with a lot of progress to be made, my heart was really set on having more of a direct impact on the community that has supported me. A mission trip to Guatemala where I built gardens and played with over 400 homeless children, and volunteering in many local schools and nonrprofits, changed my outlook on what I can do — what I want to do. I started learning more about the Minnesota nonprofit sector. Ultimately, I learned that I knew virtually nothing about it…

The sense of community and happiness despite so many hardships inspires me to this day--six years later.

So instead of delving straight into a psychology PhD program, I decided to give back to my community while learning more about myself in the process. I joined AmeriCorps. Last year, I served in a local urban charter school which fed my interest in education inequality and opportunity. While I loved the kids I worked with, I quickly learned that teaching wasn’t my passion. Instead, I became more interested in the systemic issues that lead to our country’s high dropout rates and low academic performance in urban schools.

I’d always known that Minnesota had great resources available through local nonprofits and other organizations, but I didn’t know anything about them. After hearing about Public Allies through a few friends, I looked into it more. Public Allies is a great opportunity to simultaneously take part in, and learn about, Minnesota nonprofits. Not only that, but my position will hopefully help to change the way that nonprofits complete their missions by collaborating with each other—well at least it’s a starting point.

While I’m not on my way to a PhD, an MD, or a JD, I’ve never been more fueled about where I am and what I’m doing in my life.  I’m excited to see what this year brings!

My mantra for the past two years: "Getting things done!"


4 Responses to “Path to Getting Things Done”

  1. Sonya Boyd November 26, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    Your post is a reminder that we don’t need professional titles to make a significant difference in the community. What is important, is that we continue to provide positive impact & support to communities that are in need. Thanks for your words of inspiration. You’re awesome, Liz!

  2. lindsaymays13 December 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Hey Liz – Thanks for sharing the Americorps Pledge! Being a women of action too – I share a very similar mantra! I look forward to learning more about you and hearing about your experience in Minnesota!

  3. EBach December 6, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Thank you, Liz, for your insight and framing. We can ALL make a difference- in big and small ways. The improtant part is that we must try. Thank you for sharing and for making an impact on the Public Allies Class of 2011-12! We are all fortunate you are here.

  4. imdelgado December 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm #


    It seems you and I share a similar perspective on alternative ways to make a difference. I love your use of the word “fueled” in the last sentence. Action often comes from inspiration which often comes from passion. Well said!

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