A graduate of John Carroll University, Annamae Bolen majored in English and Communications. She was involved in community service at John Carroll, including the Center for Service and Social Action: Open Minds Through Art and Take Back the Night. She was also a member of the lacrosse team, wrote for the Odyssey Online, and was a member of the English Club. Prior to joining PULSE, Annamae interned with Lake Erie Ink, where she worked with elementary and middle school children to help them develop their creative writing skills. Her hobbies include reading, knitting, journaling, scrapbooking, and drawing. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at Schenley Heights for Youth.
Louise McManus: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?
Annamae Bolen: Because I am from Pittsburgh, I had my own idea of what living in the city meant but serving at a nonprofit within a lower class neighborhood has been incredibly eye-opening. PULSE has given me a network of people that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet and build relationships with and I am thankful that I have a support system while I am going through a very unique experience
Louise: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?
Annamae: I am now aware of my surroundings and who I am as a person, what I have personally been through, and how my story is different than others.
Louise: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.
Annamae: I am learning how to speak up during meetings and I am trying to realize that my voice and opinion are necessary. Even though I am young, it doesn’t discredit the ideas that I have; I am here in PULSE for a reason.
Louise: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?
Annamae: I love that I get to work with kids and hear about their lives, and also have the opportunity to grow as a business professional. I get to be creative in both a professional and educational environment
Louise: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?
Annamae: Not knowing the people beforehand has made the relationships I have formed more purposeful. I feel like I do not have anything to hide with the people I live with because they are sharing the same experiences and I can be my most vulnerable self in all situations within the house
Louise: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.
Annamae: I do media and administrative tasks for the first half of the day. For the second half, I help tutor kids at our after-school program. I like that my day is split into two parts.
Louise: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?
Annamae: I am from the suburbs of Pittsburgh and have known all of the hotspots in the city for a while, but living downtown has helped me feel like a ‘real Yinzer’. I have enjoyed learning about all of the little shops that I pass by all the time.
Louise: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?
Annamae: In September, a couple of fellows and I went to Randyland and got to meet the man who started that whole project. It was really cool to see the different stories that have been expressed through art and see something that lots of people flock to see!
Louise: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?
Annamae: My house likes to make a lot of pasta and we have been trying to find different mac ‘n cheese recipes. So, we are currently exploring different cheeses and ways to cook these dishes!
Louise: What is the best part of the PULSE experience?
Annamae: I like that every fellow is in Pittsburgh and not spread all over the country. It makes the network that we have really unique and it is nice to have 40 other fellows in the same city and sharing a similar experience!
Story by PULSE Fellow Louise McManus.
Also, check out other Stories of Transformation: