“Every interaction I have with housemates is supportive and encouraging in some way. They listen to me when something isn’t going right. They push me to advocate for myself in and out of the work space. They push me to get everything I want out of this service year. They push me to step up, both in my nonprofit and in the house.”
Holly Mangan grew up in State College, Pennsylvania and attended Allegheny College where she earned a degree in Environmental Studies, with minors in Psychology and Education Studies. At Allegheny, she devoted much of her time to her service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega as well as Allegheny Christian Outreach, where she regularly engaged in service projects in her community. Holly also worked as a student intern with Creating Landscapes, assisting yoga instructors in teaching classes to middle and high school students. In her free time, Holly enjoys practicing yoga, playing music, journaling, and experimenting with healthy lifestyles. Holly is a part of the East End cohort and serves at East Liberty Development Inc. Holly was interviewed by Sophie Costan.
Sophie: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?
Holly: It has inspired me to question norms. My interactions with people have been meaningful, and especially as a house we’ve talked about a lot of social issues. I’ve never before been in a group where we question and discuss everything to such a deep degree. We want to learn about Pittsburgh’s social issues and dive into them. The other fellows have inspired me to confront Pittsburgh’s racial issues especially, which affects how I go about my days.
Sophie: What have you enjoyed most about living in community? How have you and your housemates pushed/encouraged one another?
Holly: I have enjoyed the support and people to go through the year with. I heard from other people my age the hardest part of leaving college is starting a new job and feeling alone because you’re often the youngest person at work and it’s hard to make friends in a new place. I loved college and being so close to my friends all the time. PULSE has been a cool transition out of college because I still have this group of people my age I get to live with and experience the same things, while also being real adults in our field. Every interaction I have with housemates is supportive and encouraging in some way. They listen to me when something isn’t going right. They push me to advocate for myself in and out of the work space. They push me to get everything I want out of this service year. They push me to step up, both in my nonprofit and in the house.
Sophie: What have you enjoyed most about your nonprofit partnership?
Holly: I’ve most enjoyed seeing firsthand how my work is affecting the Pittsburgh community. At first, I was doing a lot of data processing for one specific project. I eventually got to go to a community meeting, and I realized that the maps and data I collected represent actual people’s lives and homes. I have this incredible opportunity to actually do something to really listen to community members and contribute to coming up with a plan for neighborhood revitalization, and I’m starting to see that play out.
Sophie: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?
Holly: Makaela’s Shakshuka!
Sophie: What have you been able to contribute to your nonprofit so far?
Holly: Housing surveying and helping to facilitate community meetings. Developing a neighborhood revitalization plan for a community we’re working with.
Sophie: What surprised you about Pittsburgh?
Holly: The emphasis on the various neighborhoods and neighborhood identities. I knew initially there were many neighborhoods, but I gradually learned that everybody is very proud of their specific neighborhood and that area’s unique history. I love that in Highland Park, we have our own main street with restaurants and things because it feels like it has small town charm. But we’re also close to downtown, which is much more bustling and there’s a lot going on.
Read more Fellow Stories 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: