Tag Archives: Public Allies Twin Cities

Chapter 1: Hello

26 Nov

Hi, my name is John and welcome to my journey as a Public Ally in the Twin Cities.  During my term of service, I will be talking about my experiences as a Public Ally, my cohort, my background and my personal goals.

It’s already been a month in at Public Allies Twin Cities, so let me catch you up on what has happened.

At the beginning of October, I met my fellow allies and over the past month we have gotten to learn so much  about each other. One of the funniest activities was going rock climbing at Fort Snelling Base Camp during training week.

Here is a picture of me at top of the wall at the Fort Snelling Base Camp:

My fellow Public Allies:

For my placement, I am at The Sanneh Foundation. Their mission is to use the appeal of sports, especially soccer, to unite diverse communities, helping at-risk youth develop into leaders and experience success.  The Sanneh Foundation is located in St. Paul and has reach across the Twin Cities and around the world.  Prior to Public Allies, I was already a volunteer at The Sanneh Foundation, so it was great to continue doing something I enjoyed while also be a part of Public Allies.

At The Sanneh Foundation, I am the Programs and Community Outreach Coordinator where I coordinate the various the programs the organization runs. Some of the programs are College Prep 101; where student athletes are taught about college, the importance of academics and community engagement and the NCAA recruiting process, and Sanneh Soccer; such as after school soccer programs and free soccer camps over the summer. And I get to play soccer with youth everyday.

Here is a picture I took at one of our events in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

There is so much more to say but I am going to leave it at this. I look forward to my adventure as a Public Ally and blogging about it.


This is a museum?!

17 May

One of my favorite aspects about Team Service Project (TSP) Fridays is the fact that we can try out new places to work. I’ve discovered so many new great coffee shops and untraditional work spaces that I’ll keep with me well past Public Allies.

Here’s one of my favorites: After meeting with our project supervisor, we decided to walk over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  We were in for a surprise.  We found a little bit of “green space” inside the museum where we worked for a while.  Even though Minnesota isn’t very green in late March/early April most of the time, this was a little reminder of spring!  What a great looking (half of our) TSP group!


Who Said ‘Glee’ Moments Don’t Happen in Real Life?

11 Apr

One of my favorite aspects of Public Allies is the fact that you meet so many incredible people through the program that you might not get the chance to meet otherwise.  Fellow Allies in the Twin Cities program incredibly musical!

At training a few weeks ago, our afternoon session consisted of taking a “community walk.”  Groups of Allies walked around North Minneapolis to really take the time to pay attention to what we could see, hear, taste, feel, and smell around the neighborhood where we all come for training.  The result?  A very “Glee” moment.  Take a look!

A peak into my Outlook-scheduled day!

28 Mar

I am a huge fan of making to-do lists, synchronizing them with my Outlook calendar, and thus getting a ton of stuff done.  You want to know what an Ally does all day?  Here’s a peak into my very organized life (ha! Yeah right…I can pretend at least):

MCW calendar

Seeing all those little boxes on my calendar oddly makes me feel accomplished and satisfied!

8:00am  Check work email from home.  I often do this in case there are last-minute meeting cancellations or updates before I go in to the office.  Our offices are located downtown Minneapolis so it can be a hassle to get there.

8:30am – Drive to work.  I usually walk when it’s nice out, but today is threatening spotty showers and wind gusts that might just start my day off on the wrong foot.  Instead, I get to battle parking downtown!

9:00am – Settle  in with my morning cup of coffee, write to-do list, answer emails, and update my Outlook calendar (where would I be without my outlook calendar?!)

9:30am – Marketing Round-up: Update and re-format new website & edit newsletter.

12:15pm – Lunch time.  One of my resolutions this year has been to cook more and eat healthier!  My roommate and I stumbled upon a delicious brussels sprout salad.  I know what you’re thinking… I didn’t think it sounded good either, but it’s my new favorite food!  Incredibly easy to make, too.


Brussels Sprout Salad - mmmm!

1:00pm – Drive to meeting two of the week: The CEO’s/Executive Directors of our member organizations meet to discuss potential innovative collaborations they can form to improve their individual programs.  I take thorough notes at all meeting.  Luckily I type really fast!

3:00pm – Work from home: Start brainstorming and putting together plan for a spring “speed dating” event for our member nonprofits.  No, this isn’t an opportunity for all those singles out there to find a love connection.  Rather, it’s an opportunity for staff at our member nonprofits to get to know more of their colleagues and find potential strategic connections in their line of work.  Hopefully this breeds some new, fresh ideas!

4:30pm – More emails to respond to/send out!  (Let’s be honest, though.  My email is constantly open on my computer.)

5:00pm – Done!  Close my laptop up, charge it for tomorrow, and turn on some Friday Night Lights!

Everyday occurrence

14 Feb

One of my favorite things about my specific placement is that I get to work from home! Or a coffee shop, library, or wherever is working at the time. Just more ways for me to support local businesses while I work.

Two things that stay consistent: my companion during the day (my trusty laptop) and an abundance of tea. Today I’m at one of my favorite haunts, Spyhouse.  I’m drinking one of my favorite teas in the world, Evening in Missoula, which is also locally grown!  (For all you Minneapolitans, you can get it at The Wedge Co-op!)


It’s the little things that get me excited about my day!  What do you do to get you through it?

Serve every day

1 Feb

Last year as an AmeriCorps member, I learned this phrase: “Make MLK Day a day ON, not a day off.”

This year brought an even better one: “Serve every day, not just on MLK Day.”  It’s easy to volunteer when a whole day is dedicated to just that purpose.  There’s an incredible sense of community that happens on these days.  However, speakers at the Saint Paul Central High School/Concordia University MLK Day Rally challenged us all to remember that service should be a continuous thing.  Even though I’m a Public Ally, where service is at the core of what we do, I know I can serve more, do more, and help others get excited about serving every day.


Above: Sonya, Tatyana, and Kristian before the MLK Presentation!


1/5 of the Public Allies Twin Cities group join in the peace march to Concordia University


At the Boys & Girls Club, we had the chance to connet with youth over checkers, foosball, pool, Guitar Hero, and Just Dance.  Above, Richard and Holly teach a few kids how to play checkers.  Below, foosball starts to get intense!


After some play time, we got to join in the Boys & Girls Club Annual MLK Day “Honk for Peace” challenge!  The kids made signs and counted up how many honks they could get in the name of peace.  This year they got 111!



How will you remember to serve every day?

Top 5 things I love about being a Public Ally

13 Jan

This is one in a series of Ally Snapshot blog posts on the theme, “Why Public Allies?” If you are thinking of service work, please read on. If you know someone who might be interested, please share!

I love making lists. It’s without a doubt my number one tool for getting things done during the day. So here’s a list of the top five things I love about being a Public Ally!

5) I’m introduced to so many great leaders at community organizations throughout the Twin Cities. Because of our weekly Friday trainings, I have met an incredible number of outstanding, knowledgable, and passionate people.

4) I get to be creative! I’m placed at the MACC Alliance of Connected Communities, a partnership of many Twin Cities community-based human service organizations that leverage their collective voices and resources to better serve their communities.

One of the things that I’m most proud of is creating the MACC Alliance Messeger, a bi-monthly newsletter for members to keep up with all of the programs that are going on at MACC. I’m not necessarily good at bragging or promoting my work, so I’ll start here and share with it with you all! Click here to read the full newsletter.


3) The Twin Cities Public Allies group has mad potluck skills. I’ve been at some bad potlucks (i.e. chips upon chips upon MORE chips), and some good potlucks. These Allies definitely bring their A-Game!

2) I feel like a clique. This doesn’t sound positive, but in my case it is! I feel like I’m “making a difference” for my community. Not only because I’m working at a cool nonprofit that helps its members serve their own community better with the resources they have, but because I’m learning more about my community, expanding my viewpoint, and challenging what I think I know.

1) I get to meet a big group of people that I most likely wouldn’t have had the chance to meet in any other setting. Because we meet every Friday and have some pretty insightful, in-depth conversations, we get to know each other pretty well. We’re all very different, but that’s what Public Allies is all about: learning from different people and outlooks.