The Skills To Keep Making A Difference
Our Alumni are organizing by place-based affinity, interest in a shared practice, or desire to solve a problem. To get involved locally, please contact Public Allies Indianapolis Program Director Lauren Tolley at LTolley@inrc.org. If you would like to connect with the Public Allies National Alumni network, please visit the national site.
Are you a Public Allies Indianapolis Alum looking to connect?
How Public Allies Changed My Life For The Better
“Over the past 10 years, two programs which have similar values changed my life for the better – Youth For Understanding (YFU) and Public Allies (PA). Through my experiences and reflection, 10 years ago as an exchange student with YFU the fundamentals and groundwork for my journey as an Ally with PA, which took place eight years later, were unknowingly being laid out.
During my time with YFU I discovered much of what my potential truly is, was challenged to reach beyond cultural boundaries, learned the importance of inclusion, worked with the assets of the people and resources (in Germany) to get by on a daily basis, and collaborated with other members of the exchange program on a variety of projects.
My success and achievement, of making my way through the YFU program, much like my time in PA, couldn’t have been done without the support of my family (stateside and in Germany). With their guidance, encouragement and understanding, my time abroad was empowering, life-changing and eye-opening. Knowing that even as an alumnus of both YFU and PA I am not alone, and have the continued support of both programs and the various forms of family (PA family, host family, my personal family, etc.) – it’s my honor to continue to give back.
Being a host family, for an exchange student, whether it’s stateside or abroad, is a great way to welcome diversity, be inclusive of other cultures, challenge and be challenged to break down boundaries, reflect on your values, teach someone about American culture, and see your daily happenings through a new viewpoint. Students come to America from over 60 different countries and are here for a semester or a year.
–Cassandra Gillenwater, Public Allies Indianapolis Alumna from 2010-11 and 2011-12