new year wishes for lovers

Participant Story: Ryan Johnson-Evers

It’s easy for me to talk about differences and diversity, but PULSE involves living in community with people with entirely different expectations and habits. PULSE is a reminder that my way is not the only way or the best way.

Ryan Johnson-Evers, a native of Muskego, Wisconsin, completed his undergraduate studies at Bluffton University with a B.A. in Biology and with THREE minors in Spanish, Public Health, and Mathematics all while maintaining honors his status.  At Bluffton, Ryan worked in the Technology center as an assistant for a year and supervisor for two further years.  Following graduation, Ryan traveled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras where we was a community facilitator for the Mennonite Central Community.  He has also worked as a camp counselor for the Laurelville in Mt. Pleasant, PA.  In his free time, Ryan enjoys playing soccer, Frisbee, and almost any sport, going hiking, playing saxophone and bass guitar, playing board and card games with friends, and reading and listening to music.  He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at AJAPO.

Bethany Arneson: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Ryan Johnson-Evers: For me, the most valuable part has been living in a diverse community. It’s easy for me to talk about differences and diversity, but PULSE involves living in community with people with entirely different expectations and habits. PULSE is a reminder that my way is not the only way or the best way.

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

Ryan: I enjoy working with the refugee and immigrant populations because their norms and expectations do not always match up with the norms and expectations that we have here. Their resilience is inspiring and it’s a good reminder that my [and others’] value as a person are not based on anything I can do or stuff I know, but is inherent to being human.

Bethany: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Ryan: A typical day at AJAPO may involve helping a client through the job application process or explaining their mail or navigating cultural differences. But you never know what the day will actually bring. Sometimes clients will stop in without appointments, or have difficult and unexpected circumstances come up, and it is part of our job to give sound advice and assistance.

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

Ryan: At Burgess 2, we love family meals — we eat together as often as possible. Our most common meal is tacos, but at every meal there’s always rice and beans. And whatever we eat, it’s always a lot of it.

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

Ryan: The community. It’s great to have support when you need it and friends to hang out with and people going through the same things that you are. I think all of the PULSE participants are really cool and inspiring.

Story by PULSE Participant Bethany Arneson.

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: Emily Vogt

I really love how connected PULSE is in the city and how that access makes me feel like I belong right away.” – Emily Vogt

 

 

Emily Vogt originally comes from Ephrata, PA and attended Goshen Collegefor her studies.  She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in TESOL Education.  While at Goshen, Emily was heavily involved in music and service.  She traveled to Nicaragua for a service term to tutor adults and students in English.  She also worked as an English language tutor in the Goshen area. In her free time, Emily enjoys making music, playing the French horn, reading, watching movies, and being active and outside.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving with The Friendship Circle.

David Hogan: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Emily Vogt:  I really love the built-in community that you get with other PULSE fellows, the house community, and the mentorship program. I really love how connected PULSE is in the city and how that access made me feel like I belonged right away.

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

Emily: Intention is the word that first comes to mind. Through seminars, community living, and partnerships we are encouraged to think about our intentions and actions and the impact they have.

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

Emily: I love the people that I work with. It’s a really positive, encouraging environment. The office volunteers brighten my day and make me laugh, smile, and be happy.

David: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Emily: It surprised me how Pittsburgh seems to be made up of a bunch of small towns. Each neighborhood is so distinct, yet together they make up the whole of Pittsburgh.

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

Emily: A few other PULSErs and I attended Mt. Ararat Black Baptist Church. It was a lively and soulful service that was a lot of fun and gave me much to think about when I went home.

Story by PULSE Participant David Hogan.

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: Jaclyn Kuyers

PULSE has inspired me to become deeply invested in the place that I am living and working. It has challenged me to look deeper into the community’s strengths and weaknesses and see the opportunities for change.” – Jaclyn Kuyers

Jaclyn Kuyers grew up in Pella, IA, and attended Calvin College where she earned a degree in Fine Arts, minoring in Dance. While at Calvin, Jaclyn balanced her studies with school service.  She worked extensively on campus as a Campus Tour Guide, in addition to serving with the Student Senate and interning with the Student Life Office. Jaclyn also was involved with the Student Philanthropy Council, the Campus Involvement and Leadership Office, and the Visual Arts and Dance Guilds.  In her free time, Jaclyn enjoys choreography, dancing, and pursuing artistic endeavors.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at the Environmental Charter School.

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

Jaclyn Kuyers: PULSE has inspired me to become deeply invested in the place that I am living and working. It has challenged me to look deeper into the community’s strengths and weaknesses and see the opportunities for change. PULSE has made me think about how I can listen deeper and embrace others in their background, because you have so much to learn from them and they have so much to offer.  

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

Jaclyn: I have enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and the students at ECS. It is exciting to see the students engage in the school and what they are learning. My coworkers challenge and encourage me to be creative and innovative within my work. It has been great working alongside individuals who are passionate about the school and the school’s mission. I love being able to communicate their passions and stories so that others can see the exciting things that are happening at ECS.

Erin: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Jaclyn: I normally start my day by checking emails and going to meetings. A majority of my time is spent designing info graphics and promotional material for ECS. I also manage all of their social media platforms and post about the school, their mission, and the everyday ECS experience. On Mondays, we eat lunch with the Kindergarteners – that is always the highlight of my day and week. It’s great to be reminded why we are doing the work we do. I serve in a very collaborative office space, so there is constant bouncing back and forth of ideas. So many good innovative ideas come from this environment and it really works well for us at ECS.

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

Jaclyn: A few PULSErs and myself went to the Gallery Crawl downtown organized by the Cultural Trust. It was awesome to see all the local art that is happening the city and the crowds of people that wanted to be a part of that. It was also a great opportunity to make connections and it led me to getting involved with a volunteer position. It was great to see good art, eat good food, have good drinks, and get involved with something that I am passionate about.

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

Jaclyn: A Jackson house favorite is garbage pasta, which is basically pasta, garlic, sauce, and all the leftover veggies in the fridge. Jackson’s key ingredient to any good dish is garlic.

Story by PULSE Participant Erin Guthrie.

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: Erin Guthrie

PULSE has inspired me to be bolder in my actions, such as speaking up for what I believe in, whether it’s caring for the environment or caring for people.” – Erin Guthrie

 

A graduate of Trinity International University, Erin Guthrie majored in Graphic Design focusing on Communication.  She was heavily involved in the Trinity community, serving as a student leader on Trinity’s Global Partnerships Cabinet. Where she was the Media Director responsible for external relations through informational outreach and co-led a student trip to India.  She also worked as an undergraduate Editor of the Trinitarian yearbook and as a Communications and Design Intern for CAUSEGEAR.   Erin’s hobbies include watching movies, drawing, watercoloring, and hand-lettering gifts for friends.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at DePaul School for Hearing and Speech.

Jaclyn Kuyers: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Erin Guthrie: The most valuable part of my PULSE experience so far has been living in community with the other fellows. I have learned so much about life from my housemates! It has been a blessing to get to know people who did not grow up the same way I did and to understand life from a different perspective.

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

Erin: PULSE has inspired me to be bolder in my actions, such as speaking up for what I believe in, whether it’s caring for the environment or caring for people. I am no longer afraid to say what I really think about things!

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

Erin: I serve at DePaul School for Hearing and Speech and one of my favorite things is being around the children! Many of the kids there have cochlear implants or hearing aids – I have a cochlear implant myself – and it is so cool to see their progress even in the few months I have been here. I grew up being the only deaf kid everywhere I went so it’s been wonderful to see people who understand me and also great for the kids to see a successful adult with a cochlear implant!

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

Erin: I enjoy mealtimes with my housemates the most. We have many allergies within our house so it has compelled us to be more creative in our cooking! Sharing our days’ events together is a great way to close out the day. Some of the best conversations I have had in PULSE have been around the dinner table at Stanton.

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

Erin: I think all three parts of PULSE are important: the nonprofit placement, the house/cohort you’re in, and the city itself, of course, but the one that has been the most valuable to me is the community aspect. There’s three subgroups of the community experience and that, to me, is the best part of PULSE: the house you live in, the cohort you’re a part of, and PULSE large group. Those three come together to form a crucial support network during your year. If you are having challenges, you have a built-in system around you, and you know everyone has your back.

Story by PULSE Participant Jaclyn Kuyers.

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:

Partner Story: Assemble

Assemble is a nonprofit located in Garfield, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s East End. They are dedicated to providing an on-ramp to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) in the community. They offer daily educational programs to youth throughout Pittsburgh, both in their 4824 Penn Avenue space and at local schools and community centers. Their programs provide a platform for experiential learning, open creative processes, and building confidence through making.

Nina Barbuto is the Director of Assemble. In the following interview, she speaks about the experience of partnering with PULSE.

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

NB: We have been able to grow.

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

NB: Hannah is super thoughtful and helpful. She can handle pressure and the constant grind of our work but still maintains a level head.

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

NB: They should check it out!

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.

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