For the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, Playworks and AmeriCorps Alums honored three of our AmeriCorps alums. This award was given to outstanding AmeriCorps alums who continue to model the values of AmeriCorps after their year of service, by strengthening communities, taking action, seeking common ground and persevering. Meet our second honoree Alleysha Mullen.
I began my journey with AmeriCorps as a student not sure of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I worked several odd jobs and assumed my positions with AmeriCorps would be the same. First serving as a tutor with Readetroit Corps, and then spending a year as a program coordinator with Playworks Michigan, I seemed to somehow find my dream. Now I see, AmeriCorps was the door to the rest of my life.
Immediately after my AmeriCorps graduation, I moved to Jackson, Mississippi to launch a new Playworks region. A year later, I landed my dream job working for Playworks in California. Without AmeriCorps, these opportunities would have never crossed my path. During my two years as a member, I received ongoing professional development that groomed me for my position today. I developed the confidence to seek partnerships throughout the community through my years of service in the community with AmeriCorps. Additionally, the bond I built with my fellow AmeriCorps members is remarkable. I can honestly say I have met some of my best friends during my years with AmeriCorps. Now, because of my AmeriCorps experience, I am a better, well-rounded professional seeking higher levels of education and working diligently to become a better leader and motivator. Every day I wake up in the morning absolutely loving my job and I thank AmeriCorps for that!
Since my AmeriCorps term, I have not stopped (and will never stop) serving the community. As a program manager at Playworks, I am directly responsible for nine Playworks AmeriCorps members, who serve over 2,000 children in low income elementary schools. Just as I was encouraged, I encourage my team to be leaders in the community and carry the principle of civic engagement throughout their entire lives. To further this effort, I created a leadership development committee called The Playful Leaders. This group consists of emerging leaders who seek to improve on their leadership skills through civic engagement, community service, networking, and ongoing professional development. In its inaugural year, The Playful Leaders planned and executed two professional speed networking events, one service project, and two community engagement events.
At Playworks, I participate in every community event I possibly can. This includes corporate sponsored ‘Bring Your Kids to Work’ days, Walk-a-Thons at various elementary schools, 49'ers/Gatorade Football Camps at several schools, numerous community health fairs, youth leadership conferences, and Playworks' sports leagues, extravaganzas, and jamborees. I am often leading an icebreaker or providing a closing cheer to inspire others to get involved!
Outside of Playworks, I am a founding member of Emerging Leaders United (ELU) with United Way Silicon Valley. The mission of ELU is to support, energize, and empower the next generation of leaders through service to impoverished communities in East San Jose. As a founding member, I have spearheaded initiatives such as Career Day at Lyndale Elementary, where we engaged talent from local corporations to come to role model and to share the work they do with the students. Having a passion for the youth, I also volunteer with my church’s youth ministry as a leadership council adviser, youth conference planning committee member, and Vacation Bible School facilitator.