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By Adele Coble, Public Allies Director

Public Allies Miami graduated its ninth group of up-and-coming leaders on June 20 and 21, 2016. The year concluded with Presentations of Learning: an opportunity for Public Allies participants to prepare speeches and visual presentations that illustrate how they impacted the community and how they grew personally and professionally throughout the 10-month AmeriCorps service experience.

Through laughter, tears, and eye-opening stories, the Public Allies shared how 10 months of AmeriCorps service in a professional nonprofit organization changed their lives. Each Public Ally was introduced in a personal, heartfelt way by her or his supervisor and answered questions from the audience following their presentation.

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Public Ally Kenya Cunningham was the first brave speaker. She spent her Public Allies term serving at Common Threads, which teaches healthy cooking and nutrition to youth and people who live or work with children. Alongside Kenya’s supportive coworkers and Public Allies peers, her family took photos from the audience and her young niece even asked questions about the experience during the Q&A session. In reflecting on the event, Kenya shared, “[In the Presentation of Learning, we were] able to tell our stories and experiences in our own way which was really cool because it showed everyone’s personality and how their presentation was a reflection of themselves. I am honored and proud to say that I graduated in the Public Allies year 2015-2016. What a wonderful experience!”

Kenya’s supervisor, Rachel Biderman responded, “I am so proud of Kenya, not only for her hard work and dedication this past year, but for her growth since she started with Common Threads. I know public speaking was a fear she wanted to conquer, and watching her deliver her POL was so inspiring. She did a great job, and I am so excited to see what she does next!”

More photos available here.

Congratulations to the latest graduates of Public Allies Miami and their host nonprofit organizations:

Kenya Cunningham
Common Threads

Anthony Rodriguez
Miami Children’s Initiative

Windy Lucius
MDCPS Comprehensive Health Services and Catalyst Miami

Joseph Martinez II
Miami Children’s Initiative

Kraehl Gonell
The Education Effect

Catrine Petion
The Education Effect

Brittany Adkins
Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation

Natalya Ochoa
Center for Social Change

Natalie Diaz
Children’s Movement of Florida

Daniel Mervil
University of Miami’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement

Naomie Theus
Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe

Kevin Metellus
Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe

Rudolph Pierre
Coconut Grove Collaborative Development Corporation

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Public Allies’ national mission is to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. Public Allies Miami engages young adults, most of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, in rigorous training and service to become community leaders. Catalyst Miami is the local sponsor of the only Public Allies program in South Florida, with support from The Children’s Trust. Learn more at catalystmiami.org or publicallies.org.