new year wishes for lovers

Participant Story: Kaleigh Herron

The most valuable part of the PULSE experience is the program’s commitment to the city. They take the time to connect us with our neighbors and introduce us to different parts of the city within an historical context.” – Kaleigh Herron

Kaleigh Herron grew up in Croton-on-Hudson, New York and attended Juniata College where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Economics and a minor in Spanish. At Juniata, she devoted much of her time to campus service working as a Peer Tutor for calculus and Wildlife Management students.  She worked as an Intern with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection where she conducted a ten-year resampling project to track changes in wetland plants in the West of Hudson watershed.   She also volunteered extensively with Juniata’s Student Alumni Association.  In her free time, Kaleigh enjoys music and dance.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh.

Noble Smith: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Kaleigh Herron: The most valuable part of the PULSE experience is the program’s commitment to the city. They take the time to connect us with our neighbors and introduce us to different parts of the city within an historical context.

Noble: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Kaleigh: I am learning how to be a leader and how to see myself as a leader. My view of leadership is changing and I am learning more about different leadership styles.

Noble: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Kaleigh: I have enjoyed seeing the willingness of people to work together, especially when we are constantly exposed to sources that say otherwise.

Noble: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Kaleigh: The main duties that I have are at the office, restore, and on the construction builds. As a Volunteer Coordinator, I schedule group builds and enter reports on who is volunteering. At restore, I mentor a high school student, as well as lead the new volunteer orientation. On construction builds, I meet volunteer groups, take pictures of the site, and participate in construction.

Noble: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?

Kaleigh: The most fun adventure I’ve had in Pittsburgh so far was going to PNC Park for the first time. My partnership gave me tickets to a Pirates game and multiple PULSErs came. I momentarily lost the tickets, but everything worked out. We had a great time and the Pirates won!

Story by PULSE Participant Noble Smith.

Read more Participant Stories from Fellows about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation:

Participant Story: Bethany Arneson

I headed off to PULSE with the intention of learning skills that would help me in my intended career path. However, through my experience here I have been reminded a number of times that service is not for me or what I think I want to contribute to the community, but rather what the needs of the community are.” – Bethany Arneson

Bethany Arneson is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University in Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts. While attending APU, she had a chance to be involved with multiple devised pieces and contemporary commentary shows including a devised documentary & movement based piece that she and a team of peers took to the International Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the largest arts festival in the world) in Edinburgh, Scotland, a trip she also helped plan. She also had the chance to work as an administrative assistant in the department’s production office, as well produce other projects including a new play reading in LA, and the department-wide 24 Hour Play Festival (2 years in a row). Through her classes & community service opportunities, she has discovered a passion for social justice & community-based theater work. In her free time, she loves spending time with friends, seeing plays, thrift shopping, researching, critically analyzing pop culture, and offering unsolicited life advice. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving with Urban Innovation 21: KIVA Pittsburgh.

Ryan Johnson-Evers: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Bethany Arneson: I headed off to PULSE with the intention of learning skills that would help me in my intended career path. However, through my experience here I have been reminded a number of times that service is not for me or what I think I want to contribute to the community, but rather what the needs of the community are. While I haven’t necessarily received a lot of the skills in the way I expected, I have also realized that is probably not what I needed or what God intended. In hindsight, I realize that the patience and other skills that I have unintentionally learned are the skills that I needed and will be important for me in the future.

Ryan: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?  

Bethany: This year I am living with different types of people who I have never lived with before. I have unintentionally hurt them through well-intended statements. I am realizing that your intention does not necessarily equal the impact of your words, which has been frustrating because I knew I never meant to hurt someone but it did, because there were things I didn’t know about or ask about based on their particular background or culture.

Ryan: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Bethany: I love that our houses are so close together, so that we have the opportunity to go over to other PULSE houses whenever we want. It is great because even though we are starting into the adult world, PULSE is like a segway where there is a built in community where other people are experiencing the same things as you before we go out into the “real world.”

Ryan: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Bethany: I was surprised by how difficult driving and directions are here. I had never heard of a “Pittsburgh left.” I had no idea that Pittsburgh had a reputation for steel or bridges, I guess nobody had ever told me about what Pittsburgh is famous for. By far the weirdest thing is french fries on top of salad.

Ryan: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?

Bethany: Me and two other PULSErs took the bus on a Sunday morning to a free day at the aviary and encountered a very humongous line with many children! Luckily once they opened the aviary the line went quickly. We saw a lot of different birds but I was disappointed that I didn’t see baby flamingos. Then we wandered around the North Side and got coffee and I ended up staying in the North Side flats and seeing a show spur of the moment with Maura.

Story by PULSE Participant Ryan Johnson-Evers.

Read more Participant Stories from Fellows about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation:

PULSE Fellow Video Story – Shayna Gleason

Meet Shayna.  New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington D.C, Spain, Minnesota. Shayna seeks opportunities to serve and engage new communities.  Next?  Shayna chose a year of service with PULSE.

Living in the East End of Pittsburgh, Shayna understands that community is a supportive network of neighbors, housemates and friends.  Through serving in her nonprofit partnership, Shayna is investing in Pittsburgh’s future generations and thriving communities. Shayna has found a new home: Pittsburgh.

 

Participant Story: Maura Bell

“I’m learning that my identity is not wrapped in my job and that I can look at life more holistically.” – Maura Bell

 

Maura Bell, a native of Pittsburgh, completed her undergraduate degree with honors at Indiana University with a degree in Ballet and a minor in French. During her time in school, she was involved with the Jacobs School of Music as a Ballet instructor. She was also a member of the Hoosier Catholic Student Organization, Hutton Honors College Association, and Honors Residential Council at Indiana University.  In the time since graduating, Maura has been dancing professionally with the Saint Louis Ballet Company in Saint Louis, Missouri.  In her free time, Maura enjoys cooking and sharing meals with friends, practicing yoga, and learning to sew. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the New Hazlett Theater.

Maryem Aslam: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Maura Bell: I’ve loved creating a home with my housemates.

Maryem: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Maura: I’m learning that my identity is not wrapped in my job and that I can look at life more holistically.

Maryem: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?

Maura: I enjoy knowing that the work I do daily serves a mission of cultivating the arts. Because I trained and performed as a professional dancer, the arts hold a special place in my heart. I am grateful to continue my work in the arts, now in a behind the scenes capacity.

Maryem: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Maura: Living in community has provided me the opportunity to learn different perspectives. I am constantly challenged to look at life from new angles.

Maryem: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Maura: The theater is a very dynamic place, so each day looks different. My main focus is managing the organization’s database, tracking performance attendance and demographics, and sending donor acknowledgement letters. I am also helping with volunteer enrichment and running the box office. 

Maryem: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?

Maura: During orientation week, a group of us went to Squirrel Hill to spend time at Dobra Tea House. We loved reading the descriptions of the exotic teas and carving time out of a hectic week to enjoy conversation.

Maryem: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?

Maura: Chester Chip Cookies.

Maryem: What is the best part of the PULSE experience?

Maura: Being inspired by my fellow PULSErs!

Story by PULSE Participant Maryem Aslam.

Read more Participant Stories from Fellows about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation:

PULSE Fellow Video Story – Ashish Bibireddy

Meet Ashish. Upon graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Ashish wanted to explore an intersection between his passions in wellness and community.  Ashish was seeking an opportunity to positively impact others while also experience growth as an individual.  Ashish chose a year of service with PULSE. 

Ashish is learning how communities thrive when empowered to reach their full potential together.  Through his nonprofit partner, Ashish implements wellness programs with local leaders empowering communities across Pittsburgh. At home, on the Northside of Pittsburgh, Ashish finds strength in the mutual respect he shares with his neighbors and fellow PULSE participants for the overall growth of the community.

Ashish has chosen to serve, live, and grow in community with others to bring about a positive collective impact in Pittsburgh.  PULSE understands this passion to serve today will make a lasting change in Pittsburgh communities and beyond for the future.

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