Public Allies Chicago: Meaning of Service Discussion Series

Public Allies Chicago is a national AmeriCorps program that places leaders from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds at non-profit organizations and community centers to build capacity and strengthen civic participation. Public Allies has incorporated civic reflection into its training and programming since 2003, including monthly discussion series and retreats.

"

Civic reflection made me less afraid to have discussions with people about “difficult” topics.

"

--Public Allies Member, 2011-2012

"

I'm much more likely to reflect on my work now and I'm a stronger advocate of reflection.

"

--Public Allies Member, 2011-2012

Audience Focus

40 national service members enrolled in the Public Allies program.

Goals

  1. Help Public Allies members explore fundamental questions about service, community, and leadership
  2. Increase Public Allies members' commitment to public service -- both now and in the future
  3. Build relationships among members and contribute to their satisfaction with the program
  4. Improve the retention rate of Public Allies members
Yangyang Zong, CCR staff member, leads a civic reflection discussion with members of Public Allies Chicago

Project Description

In the year 2011-2012, the Center for Civic Reflection led a four-session civic reflection discussion series with approximately 40 Public Allies members. This series was part of Meaning of Service, a national reading and discussion program for AmeriCorps members operating in 8 states. The topics of the civic reflection discussions ranged from economic injustice, to how members connected with the people they served across difference, to leadership. This was the 9th year that Public Allies has participated in Meaning of Service and the members clearly valued the time to take a step back and talk to one another about their experiences as national service members in a deep and meaningful way.

Impact

  1. 89% of members agreed or strongly agreed that civic reflection "challenged me to think more deeply about my impact on others."
  2. 82% of members agreed or strongly agreed that civic reflection "made me more likely to continue with some form of service or civic engagement in the future."
  3. 96% of members were retained during the 2011-2012 Public Allies year.
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