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Alumni Story: Rebecca Dyck

Rebecca Dyck is a 2013-2014 PULSE alumnae., and joined PULSE for a second year in 2014-2015. In this interview she discusses her experiences in PULSE in regards to creating community, developing leadership skills, serving in Pittsburgh.

What about the PULSE program was attractive to you? Was there anything about it that surprised you?

I decided to do PULSE after I finished my undergrad degree because I was still searching for what career path I wanted to pursue. I was looking for an opportunity to gain experience in the non-profit sector and explore my interests, and PULSE was the perfect way to do this.

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

The relationships I built with my fellow PULSErs were the best part of my PULSE experience. Through shared meals, exploring Pittsburgh together, and good conversations I developed lifelong friendships, had tonnes of fun, and learned a lot about myself. Shout-out to PULSE years 13-14 and 14-15!

 

What did the PULSE experience teach you about yourself?

My time serving with non-profits through PULSE taught me about my strong abilities to be effective in the workplace. Coming out of PULSE, I knew the value I could bring to an organization and how I could be an agent for change.

What kind of work do you do now?

I am currently a gradate student, about to finish my Masters of Public Policy degree at the University of Toronto. My capstone research project is focused on how to use policy to advance gender equity in Canada.

 

Story by PULSE.  Read more Alumni Stories.

Partner Story: Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA)

Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA) is a 27-year-old, volunteer-led organization with over 300 members who represent over one million older adults across 10 counties of Southwestern Pennsylvania. They act as a catalyst to promote policy, program and systems change that improves quality of life for all people, particularly for our oldest generations. They provide a neutral forum for collaboration, education, networking and advocacy.

Laura Poskin is the Director of Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh, an initiative of SWPPA. In the following interview, she speaks about the experience of partnering with PULSE.

CC: Why did your organization decide to work with PULSE?

LP: We love the kind of engaged, community-minded leadership PULSE promotes, and we really needed help getting Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh off the ground! We knew that PULSE could help us build capacity—in the form of a smart, passionate, nearly full-time staffer —around the work.

CC: What is the most rewarding part of working with PULSE?

LP: I love learning about all of the organizations and projects involved! It’s awesome to be in this network that’s all about building a brighter, healthier, more inclusive tomorrow for Pittsburgh.

CC: How has your partnership with PULSE impacted your organization?

LP: Our partnership with PULSE has allowed us to grow in ways we couldn’t have imagined just months ago. Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh, an initiative of SWPPA, is part of the World Health Organization’s international Network of Age-Friendly Communities, but it’s brand new to this area. We’re basically a start-up! PULSE has helped our small team work at maximum capacity, and connect with other organizations that care about livable communities for all ages and abilities.

CC: What do you like most about your current PULSE follow and/or other fellows you’ve worked with?

LP: Our current PULSE fellow Shayna is so fantastic. How do I even pick what I like most?! I will have to go with her sincere passion for the work. Shayna hit the ground running when she started working on Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh. Her studies and background fit so perfectly with our mission, which is something we learned (and were blown away by) in her interview. PULSE fellows are passionate people who truly care—about a multitude of issues. What’s cool is that through the matching process, fellows and organizations find their way to each other through that passion. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better fit. More specifics about Shayna that reveal other superhero qualities: She’s an excellent communicator, a driven self-starter and a fast learner who goes above and beyond until a project is complete.

CC: What would you tell other Pittsburgh nonprofits about PULSE?

LP: PULSE is an incredible asset to your organization and to Pittsburgh. PULSE attracts top talent from across the country—except it’s more than “talent.” It’s talent combined with passion, creativity and community mindfulness. I’d say they are our future leaders, but the truth is PULSE selects people who are already leaders. The program is an opportunity for us to learn from each other and create the Pittsburgh we want to see.

Check out more great Partner Stories.

This is part of a series of posts about the Nonprofit Partner experience with PULSE. If you would like to learn more about a Nonprofit Partnership, please visit our Partner Page.

 

Alumni Story: Jenna Baron

Jenna Baron is a 2014-2015 PULSE alumnae. In this interview she discusses her experiences in PULSE in regards to creating community, developing leadership skills, serving in Pittsburgh.

What about the PULSE program was attractive to you? Was there anything about it that surprised you?

I had only lived in Pittsburgh as a Pitt student, so I was excited that PULSE would give me the opportunity to experience the city in a new, professional way.

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

The best part of the experience was living with the 3 other fellows at Beatty house. We had a lot of late nights reminiscing on our college days and freaking out together about our next steps in life. I’m still so grateful for those memories and our friendship.

How were you impacted by your PULSE experience?

The opportunity to work at the United Way was invaluable. I continued working there for 2 years after my PULSE year and I got to learn so much about non-profits, grant making, and collaborating with partners. I also made a lot of really close friends who help me on regular basis with running ARYSE.

How did PULSE prepare you for what you are doing now?

I’m the executive director of an organization called Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education. We organize programs that support immigrant and refugee youth living in Allegheny County. As an ED of a start-up organization, I pretty much do everything – development and fundraising, program development and management, financial management, and establishing a foundation and culture for the organization that reflects our values.

 

Story by PULSE.  Read more Alumni Stories.

Partner Story: Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank recognizes the importance of breast milk to optimize the health and well-being of all babies, especially medically vulnerable infants. When mothers’ own milk is unavailable, Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank provides donor human milk, which is collected and processed according to the guidelines set forth by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. They also aim to facilitate research and education in human lactation.

Denise O’Connor is the Founder and Executive Director of Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank. In the following interview, she speaks about the experience of partnering with PULSE.

CC: Why did your organization decide to work with PULSE?

DO: We heard wonderful things about the program from other non-profits. The milk bank is a startup organization and PULSE seemed like an excellent way to help build capacity. We love the idea of having young adults just starting their careers learning about donor milk too.

CC: What is the most rewarding part of working with PULSE?

DO: Working with Koehler! Our PULSE Fellow is a perfect match for our organization. We have benefited greatly from her skills. She brings a fresh perspective too. Throughout her time with us we have coordinated opportunities for her to shadow clinicians and have other experiences that will benefit her as she makes career decisions.

CC: How has your partnership with PULSE impacted your organization?

DO: It has allowed us to build capacity and visibility.

CC: What do you like most about your current PULSE follow and/or other fellows you’ve worked with?

DO: Koehler is an extremely intelligent and motivated employee that quickly became an important member of our team. Her most prized skill is the ability to autonomously lead new projects- a must in a startup environment like this!

CC: What would you tell other Pittsburgh nonprofits about PULSE?

DO: Apply! You will not regret it. Wonderful program.

Check out more great Partner Stories.

This is part of a series of posts about the Nonprofit Partner experience with PULSE. If you would like to learn more about a Nonprofit Partnership, please visit our Partner Page.

 

Alumni Story: Jodi Beyeler

Jodi Beyeler is a 2000-2001 PULSE alumnae. In this interview she discusses her experiences in PULSE in regards to creating community, developing leadership skills, serving in Pittsburgh.

What about the PULSE program was attractive to you? Was there anything about it that surprised you?

I was really drawn to the rich combination PULSE offered of community living with other young adults, a service placement that was tailored to my interests and skills, and educational enrichment that enhanced the experience in this urban setting. I had never lived in a city before, so I was surprised how much I came to love and appreciate Pittsburgh and its rich history, unique cultures.

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

Besides meeting Mr. Rogers in his last year of creating his show, the best part was the community of people I got to know in deep and rich ways: my housemates, my work colleagues and the broader PULSE community of alumni and supporters.

What kind of work do you do now?

I am the Director of Communications at Goshen College, my alma mater.

How did PULSE prepare you for what you are doing now?

It was a year that shaped the questions I think about in terms of how I want to live my life, who I want to be, how I want to relate to my community and the broader world. I am so grateful for the many people who walked with me in those meaningful conversations.

How have you stayed connected with PULSE?

I still stay in touch with many of the people I got to know that year. I encourage college students that I get to know and who would be a good fit for PULSE to consider it as an opportunity after graduation. And I am a donor because I am thankful for the rich experience I had and want to help make that possible for others.

 

Story by PULSE.  Read more Alumni Stories.

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