On Friday, February 22nd, 2019, I had the opportunity to sit in and observe a training seminar between Public Allies Pittsburgh and KEYS Service Corps. Public Allies Pittsburgh is an AmeriCorps program operated in partnership with Coro Pittsburgh and Public Allies National Organization. Public Allies’ mission is to create a just equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. It is a 10-month AmeriCorps program, where members can develop new skills, learn day-to-day operations about their organization, expand professional networks, and expand their understanding about issues that communities are facing. KEYS Service Corps on the other hand, while having a similar mission to Public Allies Pittsburgh, uses a different way to help people. KEYS Service Corps stands for Knowledge to Empower Youth to Success and has been an AmeriCorps program since 1995. Members of KEYS serve at risk youth in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County by offering them places with structured activities, assisting with homework and classwork, and by implementing service projects. Members serve full or part time at one of the partnering sites, while receiving training and support from KEYS staff. They are also placed in a variety of schools, after-school programs, community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations.

Public Ally Rachel Hermes

This event was put together by Caleb DeWitt so both programs could learn from each other, since both are service programs, to share their knowledge, and to make connections. At this event I had the pleasure of talking to a member of both Public Allies Pittsburgh and KEYS Service Corps. The member from Public Allies Pittsburgh I talked to was Rachel Hermes, who is from Portland, Oregon. She chose to participate in the Public Allies program because she wanted to continue her work with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory, which she has done in the past, and wanted to be able to work full time, while at the same time gaining experience with the nonprofit world. The member from KEYS Service Corps I talked to was Miara Walker-Dunn, who is from New Jersey. She chose to participate in the KEYS Service Corps program because she was deciding between clinical or child psychology and joined AmeriCorp to see if she liked working with kids.

My experience at this event was amazing and I learned so much about the two companies that I did not know beforehand. I was surprised at the fact that everyone was so open about things, even though they didn’t know everyone at the event. I learned about emotional intelligence and conditioning that I did know before. I was also liked how they tailored the presentations to something that is popular in today’s world that everyone could relate to. For example, the presenter for emotional intelligence used the Netflix show, Stranger Things, to show how we can control our emotions in different areas of the workplace. The trainers that led the program utilized group work to help train the group. For instance, on the presentation of emotional intelligence, the presenter used group work to have the audience get into groups and create a emotional monster with ways to fight it around the monster. By having the two organizations work together through group work, it allowed them to share knowledge and make connections with each other.