February 12, 2008

Almost There!

The Official StAR Website is days away from completion. We are populating it with links, events, photos, and biographies. Just for fun, I thought I'd share mine here. Many of you who read this I know personally, but for those who don't have the satisfaction of being in my day-to-day life, here is a brief "up-to-now" on my collegiate history:

Hello Everybody!

I am so happy you stopped by to check us out! The College of Public Programs has so much to offer, and I am excited to tell you how I ended up choosing the program I did...

After graduating from Ironwood High School, I headed off to college. But I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I found out that I knew nothing about the major I signed up for (architecture) and I didn't spend any time outside of class to study or learn more about it. I just didn't have the passion for architecture that I thought I did. After two semesters, I had to take some time off from college because I was on "academic probation". Not a good thing!

However, it was probably the best thing that could have happened. Why? It landed me where I am today. I started taking classes at a local community college, and began to volunteer for a local organization called Neighborhood Ministries. Working with inner-city, at-risk youth was a very eye-opening experience. I had worked with my church before, but I had never done the type of volunteering I was doing in Downtown Phoenix. I mentored a young man named Jesus, and worked with a small group of about seven (7) boys every Tuesday night. We would go bowling, eat tacos from Jack in the Box, or just go to the library and do homework. I found myself falling in love. Not only with the boys and their families, but with the organization. Not only was I excited about the life changing services that Neighborhood provided, but also how they were able to provide them. I was intrigued to learn more about the wheels that were turning behind the scenes.

I had worked in the retail industry for a very long time, and I had a sound understanding of business because of those experiences. But going into the "dog eat dog" world didn't seem appetizing. After all, even if I won the rat race, I'd still be a rat! But I saw here an opportunity to put my interest for business to beneficial use. I started working for Neighborhood in the Development Office. I worked on putting together a golf tournament that ended up raising $25,000 for the organization, and I also kept in contact with our individual donors about what Neighborhood was doing to change the world in young lives. After about a year there, I knew that this was for me. My hunch was right. I really did love the "behind the scenes aspect" of a nonprofit organization.

It was time to go back to school. A friend had recently graduated from the College of Public Programs with a Certificate in American Humanics. I learned later that this is a fancy phrase for Nonprofit Leadership. It sounded intriguing, so I took a deeper look into the program to see if it would fit for me. As they say, the rest is history. I am now a Nonprofit Leadership & Management major pursuing a certificate in American Humanics.

But the story doesn't end there. That is just how I got to where I am now. To keep up with me know, follow my blog. There are also tons of great resources here on the site to get you connected with people who can answer questions specific to your situation. And if I can be of any help, please don't hesitate to email me. Talk to you soon!



Cheers,

Sam

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world."

Mahatma Gandhi

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