Nonprofit Organizations in Delaware: Public Allies Delaware Prepares Young Adults for Careers at Nonprofits Through Apprenticeships in Services Like Youth Development, Public Health, Community and Economic Development and Housing
Public Allies may be one of the most important nonprofits in the state, and that couldn’t make its participants happier.
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Delaware was the fourth Public Allies site to be set up. Though it may not be the largest of the 21 sites, it has been the most innovative.
“In Delaware, there’s only one degree of separation,” says Regina Alonzo, chair of Public Allies Delaware. (She was executive director from 1996 to 1999.) “Overall, people really want each other to succeed here.”
Delaware was the first site to affiliate with a university. Its partnership with the University of Delaware now serves as a model for the other local organizations. The hands-on experience, skills training and team service projects that focus on long-term social change have proven invaluable to both the students and the university.
“It offers the organization stability and for us a way to give back to the community,” says Steven Peuquet, director of UD’s Center for Community Research & Service, which hosts Public Allies Delaware.
Delaware was also first to establish an alumni council. Last fall the site was one of three programs to receive a $10,500 grant to further alumni participation.
Delaware was also the first to recognize the importance of having an advisory board of directors. “We were very serious about having senior business people involved,” Sysko Clough says. “I think that one of the problems in the nonprofit sector is a lack of good business savvy, and business savvy is a key component.”
Public Allies is for those who are truly dedicated to public service, but sometimes it can show participants that public service is not the career for them, and that’s all right, says Garrett-Morrow, “as long as they remember us when they’re philanthropists.”
For 22-year-old Shefon Taylor of northeast Wilmington, the Allies program offers a chance to use her experience as the child of an incarcerated parent to help others in the same situation. “You always have that feeling of abandonment, that feeling of not really belonging,” says Taylor, who works for the HOPE Commission, an organization that seeks to revitalize Wilmington’s underserved communities. “I live on the front line of it, so it is important for me to give back.”
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