Fellow Story: Mary Dempsey

“PULSE has inspired me to be more patient with myself and work harder at recognizing the awesome things I am doing.”

Mary Dempsey comes to Pittsburgh by way of Adrian, Michigan. Mary received her degree in Social Work from Western Michigan University. Prior to joining PULSE, she worked as an intern and youth development coordinator at Communities in Schools in which she supported students in their educational and personal development. While studying abroad in India, Mary visited the Swakshatra Trust, a rescue home for trafficked and abused girls. She was very inspired by their resilience and learned a lot about how the organization operates. In her free time, Mary enjoys playing flute and piccolo, painting, baking, and making people laugh. Mary is a part of the Northside cohort and serves at Homeless Children’s Education Fund. Mary was interviewed by Zakaria Miller.

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

Mary: PULSE has taught me to look at the big picture more often than the smaller picture. Also, PULSE has inspired me to be more patient with myself and work harder at recognizing the awesome things I am doing. I am learning how to use different communication styles with everyone I meet to communicate more effectively.

Zakaria: What have you enjoyed most about living in community? How have you and your housemates pushed/encouraged one another?

Mary: I really enjoy how we bring different strengths to the household and we have learned to build on each other’s strengths. My housemates and I have encouraged each other by checking in on each other. I’ve enjoyed how we share stories and laugh while we are doing it. We talk about each other’s service days and we vent to each other, which is really nice.

Zakaria: What have you enjoyed most about your nonprofit partnership?

Mary: I’ve enjoyed being able to connect with some of the teens after being in the classroom for a while. I’ve also appreciated the various opportunities HCEF has given me to grow personally and professionally.

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

Mary: I enjoy trying new meals.

Zakaria: How do you like to spend your morning and evening commute?

Mary: I typically just listen to my Spotify playlist, and depending on my mood I am aiming for that day, will determine what playlist I use. Also, on the way back home, I reflect on my day and the things that went well or did not go well and the things I want to improve on.

Zakaria: What are three words you would use to describe your PULSE year so far?

Mary: Challenging, uplifting, and exploration.

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

Mary: The day I almost got kicked off a bus for trying to attend swing dancing. Then on the way back, walking to decrease the cost of Lyft with my housemates.

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

Mary: I am okay with alone time and I actually need it. Also, I am learning that there are plenty of things to do around Pittsburgh that are low or no cost.

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:

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