Molly Walsh, a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, recently moved to Des Moines to serve as a Public Allies Iowa AmeriCorps volunteer. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Sciences with a minor in Sociology.
It’s pretty amazing how much things can change over the course of eight months; I graduated from college this past May and would have never guessed I’d be living in Des Moines serving as a Public Allies Iowa AmeriCorps volunteer. I was one of those college graduates that had no clue what I wanted to do upon graduation, but I had this small inkling that I wanted to get off the east coast and get involved with the non-profit world. Now here I am.
I’m currently serving as lead strategist for an initiative called Opportunity Iowa, the initiative focuses on identifying resources for youth (ages 16-24) in Iowa, then recognizes where the gaps are so they can be addressed by organizations in the communities. Not only am I growing from my experience with Opportunity Iowa, but also through the Public Allies training sessions that have allowed me to learn more about the non-profit world and myself.
Public Allies’ mission is to “advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation.” I strive every day to become a better citizen and challenge myself to be a better leader. For me, the training sessions that have challenged me the most are those that address diversity and inclusion. Growing up in the south, I never really experienced diversity. Being an ally means you wholeheartedly believe that everyone can lead; this involves identifying individuals’ assets, even the people that look and think differently from you, and working with these individuals to positively impact a community.
As allies, we have the opportunity to make a positive impact in our communities and it’s awesome because we have so much support. Our program managers, site directors and partnering organizations are there 24/7 to assist in our professional and personal development. I’m only four months into my 10-month long term of service and I’ve already grown so much as a leader, I am so excited to see what else this program has to offer!