The “Partner” in Partner Organization

12 Jul

Public Allies Los Angeles (PALA) Class of 2012 graduates on Friday. During our Presentations of Learning two weeks ago, we shared our struggles, successes, and learning (they were emotional and eye-opening, and inspired my final post at the PALA blog).  I can say with complete conviction that the coaching I received from Vanessa Vela Lovelace, the emphasis on critical self-reflection, and the training I received from the entire PALA team have helped me become a more effective leader and community member, and I will carry these lessons with me into the next steps of my journey.

What I will also carry is the close relationship that I had with my Partner Organization Supervisor, Victor Constantino, Senior Case Manager in the Seniors Program at SRO Housing. As I reflected upon the last 10 months, I realized that Victor was the figure I worked with most (other than my dear fellow Ally Shameka Dixon), and he has had a huge influence on my experience as a Public Ally. I dedicate this last post at Ally Snapshots to him.

I am so thankful to have had Victor as my PO Supervisor; he provided guidance, encouragement, and a wealth of knowledge and experience. He shared his time freely, which was crucial during the first months of learning to be a case manager. From the very beginning, Victor showed that he was not only committed to the work that we could accomplish as case managers, but also to our development as leaders and as Public Allies. Ultimately, his guidance resulted in Shameka and I both exceeding our output targets at SRO Housing.

Despite facing increased responsibilities and limited time, Victor was willing to share some thoughts about being a PO Supervisor:

My experience working with the Public Allies has been a positive one. As a PO Supervisor it is my professional responsibility to give back; I once sat on the other side of the table. I remember attending CSU Northridge and working my first internship. As nervous as I was, the professors made me feel comfortable and assisted me through the entire process. At the end of my internship I acquired the teaching fundamentals that would help me through this endeavor.
My role as PO Supervisor is to provide a lot of support and direction. Subsequently, the Allies become self-sufficient in fulfilling their responsibilities as case managers. They have been my support as well. They have been my left and right hand. I am fortunate to have had a diligent team pass through the Seniors Program. A lot of the seniors still remember and frequently ask about the Allies. Past Allies have continued in the realm of human services and continue to make a difference elsewhere. I am very proud of them. I have enjoyed being part of their learning process, growth, and an opportunity for a life-changing career.

Thank you to Victor, the Public Allies Los Angeles team, my fellow Allies, and to Public Allies National for allowing me the opportunity to share my experiences here.

And, in case you were wondering, Mr. W‘s tomatoes are doing great!

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