“I’m expanding my view of what it means to be a servant leader. I realize that there is a very intricate process between working on the ground with community members and with those higher up making decisions. Both aspects of “making change” (top-down and bottom-up) are necessary. I’m learning about where I best fit in the process of creating meaningful change.” – Simon Doong
Simon Doong, from Beltsville, MD, comes to Pittsburgh from Wooster, OH where he studied International Relations, Economics, Spanish, and Latin American Studies. During his time at Wooster he was the secretary of theHans H. Jenny Investment Club, volunteered with the US National Arboretum, and worked with the Wooster Recording Crew. Simon also spent a summer abroad studying at the UABJO in Oaxaca, Mexico where his courses were taught in all Spanish. Simon loves outdoor activities and exploring Pittsburgh’s trails. He is serving at Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (3RWIB) alongside Rebecca Michelson.
Rene Cuenca: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?
Simon Doong: The nonprofit partnership has allowed me to develop a systems approach to urban issues. I enjoy that I am able to see how different parts of the economy come together and are interrelated to inform stakeholders in policy making. I am able to engage workforce data and help other people see the big picture. I work alongside very smart and capable people which makes the experience great.
Rene: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.
Simon: I’m expanding my view of what it means to be a servant leader. I realize that there is a very intricate process between working on the ground with community members and with those higher up making decisions. Both aspects of “making change” (top-down and bottom-up) are necessary. I’m learning about where I best fit in the process of creating meaningful change.
In addition, I’m learning the importance of personal growth, of nourishing meaningful relationships with housemates. I want to have a more holistic approach to others, my work and myself.
Rene: What surprised you the most about Pittsburgh?
Simon: Pittsburgh’s geography was a big surprise. I like the variation of environments, the different characteristics of city neighborhoods, the feeling of not being in a “city” most of the time. Between the many public parks, river trails, and semi-dense urban settings, the city feels more intimate. Before coming to Pittsburgh, I had the perception of Pittsburgh as “dirty”. Now, I’m excited to learn about the green revival that is currently taking place. I also love the pride people have in Pittsburgh, in their sports teams and neighborhoods. It seems like everyone identifies positively about being from Pittsburgh.
Rene: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?
Simon: I’ve been inspired to engage community members, to share ideas and ask people about their stories. I’ve also been challenged to reflect and have open dialogue with others. Living in intentional community requires you to think about others and their well being.
Rene: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh?
Simon: Going on long runs. Each run gives you a feeling of being in a wonderful new place. I’ve really enjoyed the north shore, stadiums, rivers and bridges.
Story by PULSE Participant Rene Cuenca.
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: