Save the Date – Nov. 9 for Our 15th Anniversary

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On November 9, 2017, friends and supporters, alums, faculty and currents students will celebrate the Leo T. McCarthy Center and 15 years of training a new generation of ethical leaders. It’s an evening of recognizing the vision and legacy of co-founder Leo McCarthy, former San Francisco legislator, California Speaker of the Assembly and Lieutenant Governor.

We’ll mark this milestone by celebrating the continuation of Leo McCarthy’s values of service for the common good through the current programs of the McCarthy Center with students who have participated locally and internationally through the Privett Global Scholars, USF in D.C., McCarthy Fellows in Sacramento, Advocates  Community Engagement and our graduate degree programs in Urban and Public Affairs.

The night will begin with a reception followed by the presentation of the inaugural Leo T. McCarthy Award, to be given to the The Honorable Art Agnos, former San Francisco mayor, assembly member and regional head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

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Today more than ever, the world needs future leaders who think critically and respond compassionately. Join us in preparing the next generation of ethical leaders and the programs that serve them—by becoming a sponsor or attending. Visit http://rsvp.usfca.edu/mccarthy-sponsorship-2017 or email Leslie Lombre, Associate Director at  llombre@usfca.edu or call (415) 422-2983.

Save The Date

Meet our 2016-17 Advocates for Community Engagement (ACEs)

Advocates for Community Engagement are socially responsible, civically engaged student leaders who facilitate meaningful service-learning experiences for USF students, faculty, and their host organizations. Primarily, ACEs act as liaisons to ensure the needs and expectations of all stakeholders are accounted for and prioritized. Each ACE makes a one-year commitment to work onsite at Bay Area nonprofit organizations. Meet our current cohort of ACEs  and learn about their hopes and expectations for the coming academic year.

 

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 Nell Bayliss

Major: Critical Diversity Studies

Minor: Public Service and Community Engagement

Year: Junior

Living Learning Community: Martin-Baró Scholars 

Nell Bayliss was born and raised in Washington D.C. and that fact ignites her passion for studying Critical Diversity Studies. She is was a part of both the Martin-Baró Scholars and Esther-Madríz Diversity Scholars living learning communities. She is excited to bring her experience from  both living learning communities into her ACE position this year.

 

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Alejandro Cuevas

Major: Latin American Studies

Minor: Dual Degree in Teaching Program

Year: Senior

Living Learning Community: Erasmus  

Alejandro’s experiences both on campus and off campus have prepared him for his role as an Advocate for Community Engagement in multiple ways. His involvement as a student in Erasmus this last year has impacted his view on service learning and issues globally. Experiences doing community organizing have helped him develop skills that will support his involvement as an advocate for community engagement. He is excited to grow as a student and supporting students through their service learning experience.

 

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Amanda Geraldo

Major: Communication Studies

Minor: Theater

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site: Upward Bound

After studying abroad in London last semester, Amanda is very excited to be back as an ACE. In addition to this role, she is actively involved on campus with Dance Generators, Magis Emerging Leadership Program, Lambda Pi Eta, and the Arrupe Immersion program. She has always had a passion for working with youth and is excited to continue exploring this passion through her ACE partnership this year.

 

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Alexa Gonzalez

Major: Politics // International Studies // Latin American Studies

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site: Viviendas Leon

Alexa grew up in Nogales, Sonora—a border town where you can travel from Mexico to the United States in less than 10 minutes. One of her most rewarding college experiences has been working with environmental groups to complete an independent research project focusing on analyzing social resistances emerging in response to the extractivist agribusiness model in the Industrial Belt in Rosario, Argentina. She is very excited to work with Vivendas Leon and support service learners in their projects.

 

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Greta Karisny

Major: Sociology

Minor: Public Service and Community Engagement

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site: 826 Valencia-Tenderloin Center

Greta’s second year as an ACE  is spent working in partnership with 826 Valencia for the 2016/17 school year.She loves being a part of the ACE community and the space it creates for positive discussions towards social justice, community-building, and personal growth. Last year she partnered with Upward Bound USF and had an incredible experience working with the organization, service learning students, and the students that they serve. She had the opportunity to do her direct service with their after-school program at Mission High School and fell in love with the students and the school.Her time at Mission was one of the most positive experiences she’s had at the ACE program and throughout her college career. She is so excited to begin to build relationships with students at 826 this year and to be able to see their growth as the school year continues.

 

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Kiana Rai Martinez

Major: Double major in Sociology and Critical Diversity Studies with a Minor in Public Service and Community Engagement

Year: Junior

Living Learning Community: Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars Living Learning Community

Kiana was a member of cohort ten of the Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars prompting her to pursue a role that gave her the chance to continue working with the program. She enjoys surrounding herself with people who challenge her to think critically and flourish — just two of the traits she sees in the Esther Madriz Scholars, year after year.

 

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Sonia Hurtado Ureño

Major: Sociology and Latin American Studies

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site: Mission Graduates

Sonia Hurtado Ureno was born in Fremont, California to Mexican immigrants. Her experiences as a low income, first generation Chicana has led her to participate in activist efforts during her time at USF. As an ACE, she looks forward to working with first generation college bound students and current students.

 

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Chiweta Uzoka

Major: Politics

Minor: Legal Studies

Year: Junior

Community Partner Site: Bayview Hunter’s Point Community Legal

Chiweta Rozaline Uzoka is Secretary of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated – Tau Tau Chapter, President of Sister Connection, and a member of the Black Student Union here at USF. She was also a member of Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars living-learning community and is currently a peer mentor in this community as well. She is excited to be working with Bayview Legal and moving towards universal access to legal services and representation.

 

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Miriam Uribe

Major: Politics, Latin American Studies, and International Studies

Year: Junior

Community Partner Site: Generation Citizen

During her time here at USF, Miriam has been a strong advocate for more resources for undocumented students in our community. It has been an experience that has allowed her to reflect on the power of story telling to create change. She is excited to work with Generation Citizen this year and redefine what “citizenship” means.

 

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Vivienne Pismarov

Major: Psychology/Legal Studies

Year: Sophomore

Community Partner Site: Faithful Fools

Vivienne Pismarov is a first-year ACE who is excited to explore social justice issues with the McCarthy Center. She was part of the Martín-Baró Scholars Living-Learning Community here at USF last year where she first became interested in engaging issues of diversity and homelessness in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Additionally, Vivienne is interested in how legal policies in San Francisco can be modified or created to help better address homelessness, women’s rights issues, and environmental problems.

 

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Nichole Vasquez

Major: Kinesiology

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site:Family House

On campus, Nichole has had different experiences that have prepared her for the ACE role. Her first service experience in college was as a democracy coach with Generation Citizen, where she facilitated a class of seventh graders leading them through a service project. Her experience with Generation Citizen sparked a passion for service that she is excited to continue this year with Family House!

 

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An Advocate for Community Engagement (ACE) Graduates

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Dylan Moore ’16
Advocate for Community Engagement

Over the past year, as an Advocate for Community Engagement (ACE) I’ve worked closely with the Faithful Fools Street Ministry in the Tenderloin neighborhood. As a part of this experience, I worked with a wonderful team of people to plan and implement the Fools annual community celebration, known as Oscard’s Feast. Though it operates as a fundraiser, the primary goal of the event is to come together as Fools and celebrate the community found in the Tenderloin (TL). About a week after the event, I was facilitating a reflection with service-learners from a Communication Studies course as well as with Carmen Barsody, one of the founders of the organization. As we reminisced on the success of the event, Abram Castaneda, one of the service-learners said something that made us all pause, smile and make the classic “mmm” sound that happens when someone in a reflection says something particularly profound. He spoke about the beauty of an event that invites people to “come in your complete imperfections”. If there was ever a summative moment of my experiences as an ACE, that was it. In just one short sentence this service-learner had captured what it means to work as an ACE, with the Leo T. McCarthy Center (LTMC), and with the Faithful Fools.

I began my undergraduate life in service as a Martín-Baró Scholar, working with the Raphael House in the Tenderloin. Through this partnership I served as a homework tutor for young students who were currently or had previously experienced homelessness. I was also fortunate enough to spend a year at the YMCA in Bayview Hunters Point. As a part of my work there I was a classroom assistant, helping students with their algebra homework (although frankly, more often than not, they were the ones teaching me about algebra).

Finally, here I am at the Faithful Fools. voter registrationMy service with the Fools has had me wearing multiple hats. There are times when I’ve helped register voters in the TL and times when my service involves simply being in community. Though my time as an ACE is ending, my journey with the McCarthy Center isn’t over yet. In just one short week I’ll be heading off to Sacramento as a McCarthy Fellow and continuing my journey of exploration.

As graduation grows closer, I’m left thinking about all of the things I have learned as an ACE. While I’m better at writing professional emails and planning reflections, any job of value will help me develop those skills. What makes being an ACE an exceptional and transformative job, is how it has shaped me as an agent of change. Over the past two years I have built incredible relationships, made amazing memories, and learned more about myself and the world than I ever thought I would. As a part of this learning process, I have unpacked and analyzed the structural and systemic issues that affect our community. I have explored my privilege and my marginalization. I have seen the ways nonprofits can fight against marginalization. More than anything though, I’ve learned how to celebrate communities in all of their vulnerabilities and strengths. Being an ACE has taught me that I don’t need to build up walls against my vulnerabilities, I need to bask in them. To share our flaws and imperfections and find common ground within them. Being an ACE has taught me how to grow, celebrate, and heal through vulnerability.

So here I am, in all of my imperfections, ready to take on the world as a McCarthy Fellow in Sacramento and continue celebrating the community that is the McCarthy Center.

(Dylan Moore is the 2016 valedictorian for the School of Arts and Sciences and award winner of the Priscilla A. Scotlan Award and the Leo T. McCarthy Public Service Award)

Casa Bayanihan – Living and Learning in Solidarity

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Kaitlin Thaxton Elkins, ’17
Advocate for Community Engagement
Casa Bayanihan, Quezon City, Philippines

Read Katie’s first and second blog posts written during the semester she spent in Casa Bayanihan. Her reflection below looks back on her experience following her return to USF in December.

It is very difficult to sum up my experience in the Philippines with the Casa Bayanihan program. Almost every alum will tell someone who asks that. I could talk about what my everyday life was like there. I could talk about what I did. However, even these two simple concepts are difficult for me to explain because the Casa Bayanihan program is about taking students out of the context of their own lives.

The purpose was not for me to do, but rather to live and walk in solidarity with those experiencing injustice in their everyday lives. I learned by following and listening, allowing myself to be present in ways I had not been before, in a completely different country surrounded by people with completely different lives than that of my own.

When I struggle to explain what I did in the Philippines, people often incorrectly assume that I was doing some charity work. As an Advocate for Community Engagement (ACE), we are trained to understand the difference between charity, philanthropy, and service, but I was unaware of the concept of “accompaniment” that Casa Bayanihan follows until I applied. Lilla Watson, an aboriginal activist and educator, is often quoted in Casa Bayanihan settings to illuminate the mindset of accompaniment and praxis:

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Lilla Watson

Working as an ACE I have grown comfortable with working in communities different than that of my own. Being abroad through Casa Bayanihan allowed me to see beyond this comfort and understand the importance of mutuality of relationships when being in communities in a service or accompaniment setting. I halfheartedly expected that I would come to the Philippines and learn about other people’s lives without sharing myself as well. After spending months with people whose realities are different than that of my own, I have realized the importance of sharing myself in building relationships in communities. It takes both people in a service or accompaniment to be open and present to each other to grow an unforgettable experience.

About halfway through my semester abroad, instead of rushing home to complete the next task, I found myself talking to my neighbors or playing with the children. Living without internet or television made me realize they were just distractions from real conversations with people. The love I received in praxis from all of the women who opened their homes, families, and hearts to me made me see the power of selfless love. Being an ACE means more than three hours of direct service in an organization each week. Casa Bayanihan taught me that my position can be an opportunity to grow myself by accompanying a community by being present to the environment and people around me.

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Applications for the Casa Bayanihan program closes March 1 – apply today!

Want to become an Advocate for Community Engagement? Applications are open until March 6.

What About an Internship Abroad?

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Nichole Vasquez
Privett Global Scholars participant

When I first learned about the Privett Global Scholars at a school information session, I immediately knew this was something I wanted to do.

The program is a ten-week internship in Udaipur, India where students are placed at NGO’s (non-governmental organizations), to complete a sustainable development project. When I first heard a former program participant talk about her experience abroad, her account consisted learning Hindi, few people at her work speaking English, and living with a host family eating traditional Indian food three times a day.

I myself, knew little to nothing about India, its culture, or what sustainable development looked like. The unfamiliarity of the experience pulled me in, and a couple months later I was living in India with a host family, interning at an NGO, and embracing a culture I had known little about.

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When searching for and working at my internship, I learned many different things along the way. Here are the three most important:

  1. Find the resources on campus and in the community.

Take the time to look around campus and the community to see what services, organizations, and other resources are available to you. Internships, jobs, and volunteer opportunities are available where you least expect it.

  1. Try something new!

Even if something doesn’t sound like it’s your thing, go for it! You never know if a new experience could spark a new passion or even lead to your next job.

  1. Keep an open mind.

To get the most out of the internship experience, try to keep an open mind. Learning about a new culture and workplace can be overwhelming, but try to form friendships and listen to your co­workers, bosses, and the people you meet along the way.

I was fortunate enough that this internship led me to my next job as an Advocate for Community Engagement through the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good. In this position, I work between a non-profit and students at USF. Although now I am back in the U.S., my time in India equipped me with the skills necessary to work in a non-profit.

While an internship can be the experience of work itself, it is truly more than that. It is made up of the environment, the people you meet, and the experiences you have. An internship, no matter how close or far, can be the experience of a lifetime!

This post is part of the Looksharp Internship Blog Competition. To read more about the competition and view other posts go here.

Random acts of kindness

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Rebecca McDowell
Master of Public Affairs and Practical Politics candidate ’16

There’s a quote I frequently think of that’s often used when tragic events happen in the world – the Boko Haram kidnapping, the Paris attack, Newtown shooting, Boston bombing, Colorado shootings, Kenya attack and countless others. This quote is well known if you grew up like I did watching Mr. Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
― Fred Rogers

The reason I mention this is because December brings around holiday feelings and the season of giving. Helping others and sharing kindness to the world should be a year round tradition, but often times it can be lost with the business of living or is only noticed during tragic events. The holiday season brings with it a reminder for us to pause and notice those around us and the joy of giving instead of receiving. Growing up in school my principal always reminded us that giving does not necessarily mean only expensive gifts, but through acts of kindness – letting someone know how important they are to you, lending a listening ear, etc. These lessons were instilled in me from a young age and I continue to try to live them out in my everyday life. As a candidate in the Master of Public Affairs program in the Leo T. McCarthy Center at the University of San Francisco studying politics, ethical leadership and what it means to serve others – I continue to see how important these lessons of kindness are in the way of how people work together and help others.

These thoughts and reflection prompted me to create a random acts of kindness calendar for the month of December as a reminder that kindness goes a long way and truly does help make the world a better place. There are some open spots left – what random act of kindness would you suggest? Write your ideas in the comments below!

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