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Public Allies Alumni - Opportunity Nation Summit and Hill Day

It's a special series of our Catching Up....with our Public Allies Alumni Podcast. We're featuring the stories of our national alumni delegation that will be joining us in Washington DC this fall to meet with their elected representatives and policy makers to discuss how we can move the 6.7 million young adults that are out of school and out of work onto pathways of higher education and employment. To listen, click on the photo twice.

#RickySmith, Miami '12. As his pic suggests, Ricky is very comfortable in dialoguing with his elected representatives. During his interview, he shares how he was inspired from his Public Allies experience to develop his own nonprofit to connect Opportunity Youth in Dade County, Florida.

#RobinJackson, Indianapolis '12. Robin Jackson is a fresh new alum of Public Allies Indianapolis, and is about to start grad school in philanthropic studies and nonprofit management. As a performance artist, she's excited about using her voice to amplify the Opportunity Youth platform

#JanetDeJesus, Central Florida '12. Janet wants to go to DC to tell the stories of the Opportunity Youth in her community, and how it's so vital to assist them in making connections to higher education and employment.

#AdrianRussell, North Carolina '11. Through his experience as both an AmeriCorps VISTA and a Public Ally, Adrian was able to discover his passion for building community, and is now working to strengthen the financial self-sufficiency of young adults in the Triangle.

#JasmineCoaston, Cincinnati '09, '10. Jasmine is excited to share her story in Washington DC, as service allowed her the opportunity to discover her gifts with working with kids, and now she coordinates afterschool programs. She was also "born in City Hall", so she provides great advice on how to talk with your elected reps.

#KentrellWashington, Milwaukee '11. We catch up with Kentrell as he's starting his undergrad degree in Columbia, South Carolina. Kentrell talks about how important it is for Opportunity Youth to build a wide network of personal relationships to leverage connections and opportunities.

#BryanPacheco, New York '10. Interview to come.

#AllisonBendanis, Central Florida '12. Allison started her career in advertising, and then left that to find her passion as an Public Ally. Allison spent that year connecting foster care youth to employment and higher education. On this podcast, she shares her "best practice" on making that connection happen

#AdrianCarver, New Mexico '10. Adrian experience in speaking with his state's legislators informs him that we need to be talking Opportunity Youth Agenda with our national elected officials more than ever.

#AvelinaBorrego, New Mexico '12. Avelina currently works for the Workforce Development Initiative in Albuquerque, NM which puts her work at the heart of the Opportunity Youth agenda. She believes that creating space for disconnected youth, and assisting them in making connections are keys to reducing that 6.7 million number of Opportunity Youth

#MichaelRose, Eagle Rock '08. Michael is currently a middle-school science teacher committed to creating "joyful lifelong learners." He sees intervening advancing the Opportunity Youth Agenda is about interrupting the cycle of poverty. "...youth want to be engaged in society, but the longer they're disconnected, the harder it is to re-engage...the idea that they want to be disengaged, that's a falsehood."

#RachaelCarpenter, North Carolina '08. Rachael knows from her own experience the crucial importance of having accessibility to opportunities, and she's part of the delegation to ensure that the next generation has access to higher education and employment.

#BurrellPoe, Chicago '12. Burrell Poe has spent his summer connecting young adults to employment, and is eager to share his insights in DC next month. We also take time to learn about Burrell's insight as a military veteran, and the challenges his fellow veterans face in reconnecting into the workforce.

#ShefonTaylor, Delaware '11, '12. Shefon is inspired to be part of this summit because she wants to shape policy, and change the culture of how we look at Opportunity Youth. "We have to ask ourselves, what are the consequences of having young people not having hope for the future?"

#EricOlsonGetty, North Carolina '09. Eric works in Durham, NC on moving local Opportunity Youth to jobs. "I'm hoping to get some ideas and energy from people who have been working on this issue longer than I have, and to bring that back to Durham, NC."

#MarcusBoatwright, New York '11. Marcus believes in this agenda because he has experience in building networks, and sees the power in connecting young adults to mentors and opportunities. Get fired up listening to Marcus' story.

#OscarAlexanderRobles, Connecticut '11. Oscar knows the Opportunity Youth Experience, and provides testimonial on how serving his two terms as an AmeriCorps member has set him up for success.

#KathrynRamirez, San Antonio '09. Kathryn is excited about the opportunity to share her story with other lawmakers and policy makers on why it's so important to invest in this generation.

#ClaudineConstant, Connecticut '11 and '12. Claudine shares how her Public Allies experience helped her discover what she's passionate about, and how she could channel that into improving her community. She believes that that's a key formula for mobilizing this Opportunity Youth population from being out of school and out of work onto pathways of higher education and employment.

#ShawniceJackson, Maryland '12. Shawnice has lived the Opportunity Youth experience, and through Public Allies now is working at Big Brothers/Big Sisters and is on the verge of completing her degree. She also believes that by connecting Oppportunity Youth to education and jobs, that we'll unleash a wave of innovation that this country desperately needs.

#LibbyCole, Eagle Rock '09. Mac and Libby talk about "prevention" field, and how there are many parallels there with the Opportunity Youth agenda.

#AmeliaKolokihakaufisi, Silicon Valley '08, '09. Amelia knows the Opportunity Youth experience first hand, as she dropped out of college as a junior to support her family. Public Allies was an opportunity for her to get reconnected to higher education, and to serve her community - and she is fired up to advance this issue next month at the Summit and Hill Day.

#ErinBusk, Indianapolis '12. Erin is both working at the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, and is studying public policy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Her recommendation for others who are new to this issue: "It's so important to use your voice, to explain what this agenda is and what we're trying to promote.

#ReneeBraceySherman, San Francisco, '11. Renee now works at the Wikimedia Foundation. Renee has done "Hill Days" in California, and has seen how powerful it is to connect citizens to share stories with their elected representatives. She looks forward to doing her part on moving the Opportunity Youth agenda

#MiriamGonzalez, Arizona '10. Miriam talks about the amount of opportunities she gained through serving in Public Allies, and believes that others who are out of school and work would also gain crucial connections to employment and higher education.