“I realized that I wanted to start working with organizations that help people do those kinds of community projects,” said James.
When James started his PULSE term after graduating from Goshen College in 2001, he was placed with several organizations including the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Union Project.
While volunteering with the Union Project, he got to see community organizations collaborate to fix up and revitalize the building. This process inspired him to study urban planning and work in community development.
“The best thing about PULSE was how it framed community,” said James. “And not only the community of PULSErs in the house, but how to integrate into the neighborhood and get involved with the church or organizations like ELDI [East Liberty Development, Incorporated].”
The community connections visible at the Union Project and through PULSE were the most meaningful for James. He observed the interconnectedness that makes a successful community.
James now works as the community planning and project coordinator for Lawrenceville Corporation, a community development organization for the Lawrenceville neighborhood in Pittsburgh. He’s also a PULSE board member and volunteers with several local nonprofits.
“[While in PULSE] I learned how I wanted to engage by getting involved in the neighborhood,” said James, “and PULSE gave me a framework for how to do that.”
Story by Sara Alvarez, PULSE Participant 2012-13.