It is the task of our Public Allies fellows to serve a full school year in an apprenticeship where they are asked to create, improve and expand services offered by Eagle Rock — specifically in the areas of youth development and education.
Like Allies across the country, fellows also participate in a rigorous leadership development program and community building activities, and they each contribute to team service projects (TSPs).
The TSP is a unique opportunity to lead and learn through team experience in upholding the Public Allies values in six areas:
- Diversity & Inclusiveness
- Focus on Assets
- Continuous Learning
Well-designed TSPs seek to recognize the assets of a community instead of approaching communities in a needs-based way. In small groups — and in partnership with community members — Allies create, implement and evaluate a service project that will ideally have a sustainable and lasting positive impact.
This year we introduced the concept of TSPs during core training. And before students even arrived on campus, our fellows had already begun to brainstorm ideas for projects inspired by their own strengths and passions. As the weeks progressed, and as fellows became more integrated into the Eagle Rock community, additional ideas emerged.
Fellows captured their thoughts in a shared Team Service Project tracker, which allowed them to view and comment on one another’s proposals. After successfully completing their first trimester at Eagle Rock (Sept. — Dec. ’15), the fellows utilized their direct experience, keen observations, community asset-mapping and interviews, and shared brainstorming to select their TSP teams and project ideas.
As we move our way through ER68 (the 68th trimester since our founding in the early-1990s), we’re excited to see the Fellows break ground on the following project ideas:
Team: Maya Edery, Joi Ward, Brett Youngerman
Project: Supporting a Positive Culture around Sexual Health and Wellness
Description: Building off the work of Eagle Rock’ Sexual Health and Wellness Committee, fellows are working with the Eagle Rock community to determine how we can create a healthier sexual culture on campus. The team is utilizing a variety of supports including resources, counseling and discussion to help equip students with knowledge, skills and confidence in topics such as communication and power within sexual relationships and the physical health of sex.
Team: Helen Higgins, Ally Bolger, Aranda Salazar
Project: The Writing Center
Description: The team is creating a center focused on individualized writing support for students, either for classes, graduation requirements or personal development. Fellows plan to leverage tutoring skills of both staff and students, develop a consistent schedule and quality of offerings, and implement a plan that will allow the Writing Support Center to remain in operation long after their year of service. The timing for this project is ideal, as Writing Across the Curriculum is the instructional team’s professional development focus for the year.
Team: Michael Grant, Mia Stroutsos, Monse Alvarez
Project: Eagle Rock Radio
Description: The team is working on starting a radio program/station to give students a space to express their voice, interact with communities outside of Eagle Rock, share stories, and learn skills in editing, recording and interviewing. After the fellows create the technological and logistical framework and support the implementation of the programming — getting it up and running — students will manage and operate Eagle Rock Radio.
Team: Claire Oliphant, Chris Iafrati, Kelton Hall
Project: Blacksmithing for the Ages
Description: Inspired by Claire Oliphant’s background in blacksmithing, the team is designing and constructing a blacksmith shop on campus. Students and other community members will be included in building the structure. Once completed, this resource will be available for future classes and Explore Week opportunities (teaching a mergence of science and art). Another benefit of this project will be the creation of a smaller community of students sharing their interest in the craft.
This trimester, with the support of our Professional Development Center team, fellows will gain skills framed in The Leadership Challenge (a global campaign to liberate the leader in all of us) to help ensure their projects are successful and sustainable. The objective is to wrap up Team Service Projects by the end of this trimester so that projects are fully integrated and operating for the fellows’ last trimester this summer.
Editor’s note: For a look at a previous cohort’s Team Service Projects, please see Updates On Our Public Allies Fellows 2015 Team Service Projects (from June 18, 2015).
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About The Author: Christi Kelston is the director of Public Allies at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo., where she supports and oversees a dozen teaching fellows through their year of service, leadership and personal development. Kelston, who serves on the organization’s Professional Development Center team, has spent the last 16 years working with nonprofits that challenge traditional concepts of education and youth development. Prior to rejoining the team at Eagle Rock (she was a Public Allies instructional fellow in 2008-9), Kelston was the program director of quality improvement at Family League of Baltimore, where she oversaw the quality, implementation, evaluation and tracking of professional development and technical assistance for community schools in Baltimore, Md.