Sunday, July 31, 2011

Democracy Summer 4th Session

 by Bryan Troupe

So, just how good was session 4 of Democracy Summer?

Participants have consistently given each session high marks, and Susan Rubio Rivera, Executive Director of M.U.J.E.R., summed up Thursday’s experience saying that the 4th session was the best one to date!

Session 4 of Democracy Summer, hosted by Catalyst Miami, was full of activities in which everyone present interacted with one another.   

Gretchen Beesing, VP of Communications at Catalyst Miami, led an interesting presentation which involved the audience discussing the meaning of three words: activism, advocacy, and service. Attendees were asked to write one word that came to mind when thinking of each word. (For example, for the word “advocacy” one person wrote the word “hippie” next to it.)  One of the positive outcomes of this exercise was its ability to show the many different ways that different individuals can perceive the same three words: activism, advocacy, and service.

This session was really special for me because I was given the opportunity as an intern to facilitate a fantastic panel discussion that took place. The four panelists were:

·         Linda Carmona-Sanchez of Alliance for Early Care and Education
·         Ana Obregon of M.U.J.E.R.
·         Juan Rodriguez of Florida Immigrant Coalition
·         Anjali Sardeshmukh of Mobile Midwives

Linda Carmona-Sanchez spoke first, referring to a trip that her organization took to the State Capitol in Tallahassee. She said that this was many of the organizers first time ever being to the State Capitol. “They were able to see that their Congress people were actually human; they talk, breathe, and sleep just like us.”

Ana Obregon was the second speaker. She spoke about her experiences with the organization M.U.J.E.R. and what the organization was able to do for individuals in the community. One of the great points she made was that M.U.J.E.R. “empowers women to bring co-partners to be part of change.”

Juan Rodriguez presented next, and showed a touching video that left hardly a dry eye in the room. Juan spoke of his experiences of family members being deported and the long road to his gaining citizenship. The video that Juan presented put actual faces on the issue of immigration.

Anjali Sardeshmukh gave an eye-opening presentation about birth justice. Her organization, Mobile Midwives, was able to prevent Jackson Hospital South from being shut down. One of the interesting facts that Anjali gave was that Black babies are twice as likely to die in infancy than white babies, which is why her organization believes so strongly in providing midwives to these disadvantaged neighborhoods.

After such a strong Democracy Summer Session 4, Session 5 promises to be even more outstanding!

Democracy Summer is a program whose goal is to build strong social justice analysis, skills and strategy into the nonprofit sector of Miami-Dade County. We will do this by strengthening the role of nonprofit service organizations as sites of movement building, organizing and mobilization for progressive social change.

Here are some of the websites of attending organizations:
M.U.J.E.R. = www.mujerfla.org
Alliance for Early Care and Education = http://www.myaece.org
Florida Immigrant Coalition = http://floridaimmigrant.org
                                 http://birthjustice.blogspot.com

Democracy Summer 3rd Session

by Bryan Troupe

As promised, the 3rd session of Catalyst Miami’s Democracy Summer session delivered a wealth of ideas to all in attendance. Participants were broken into smaller groups of three, which enabled each individual’s separate ideas to be molded into one voice before being presented to the entire group.

Gretchen Beesing conducted the first section, Concepts for Social Change. She presented five methods of social change: direct service, self-help, education, advocacy and direct action organizing.

The second presenter, Caitlin Maclaren, did a fantastic job explaining the Pennywise Campaign. An interesting point that Caitlin made was that local officials should not make cuts that could be damaging in the long term for the community.

Here are sample quotes from those who attended:

“I always leave with concrete ideas of things that I can implement right away.” Kamalah Fletcher, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida

“It was really energizing to be able to talk about issues going on in communities. I look forward to the day for everyone to truly come together and move a movement forward.” Sharayna Douglas, who works with at-risk youth

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CEO & President Daniella Levine's Op-Ed Published in TheLedger.com

"With special thanks to Coalition for Human Needs, our national sister organization, for mentoring and support, I was pleased to have this Op Ed published in the Miami Herald and in other publications around the state. If you want more information, consult www.chn.org"

 -Daniella Levine, CEO & President of Catalyst Miami
 
 
 
 

Wonderful Article of our Prosperity Campaign Champion, Erbi in FIU's BizNews



Erbi Blanco-True. Picture from BizNews.fiu.edu




Monday, July 25, 2011

Interns for Impact: ENEAMI BESTMAN


Hello! My name is Eneami Bestman, it is pronounced E-nae-me, which is Nigerian meaning, “my day is coming!” I am a native of Miami, Florida and have served over eight  years in the United States Air Force. During my time in the Air Force I was stationed in several places including serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait and Iraq. After completing my commitment to the Air Force, I attended the University of West Florida where I earned my bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. I have recently completed graduate school at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA with my MA in American Government along with two certificates in both Global Politics and Law & Public Policy.
ENEAMI BESTMAN

With my military experience and education,  it would have been logical for me to move to Washington, DC and seek employment. However, after viewing an interview on YouTube of First Lady Michelle Obama, she expressed how her parents instilled in her the importance of college graduates returning to their hometowns and giving back. She commented on how her parents presented her with the question of, “How much better would our communities be if people returned for a few years to give back?” It was at that moment I decided after graduate school I would return home and serve in my community. I have been granted that opportunity through interning with Catalyst Miami.
As a summer intern at Catalyst Miami, I work directly with Daniella Levine, the nonprofit organization’s President  & CEO. Working with Daniella is very exciting, no day is ever the same as I get to watch her  in action. On the day I came in to interview with Daniella and receive an orientation of Catalyst Miami, as I passed Daniella's office, I heard someone say “What are you doing the next couple of days?” I thought she was speaking to the volunteer coordinator who was showing me around, but no, she was speaking to me! The next morning at 6:30am I was headed, with Daniella, to the Annual Florida Prosperity Partnership (FPP) Conference in St. Pete, FL.
At this conference, I learned of the Prosperity Campaign (PC), which is the flagship initiative of Catalyst Miami. The Prosperity Campaign helps low-wage individuals and families in South Florida connect to quality healthcare programs and services, establish financial security, and improve their quality of life. I am designated as the point person working with Daniella to plan and organize the utilization of a grant that will afford us the ability to further expand the Prosperity Campaign's services statewide. I am helping to create a survey that will be distributed statewide to all of the prosperity centers. The information that we gather will help us to asset map, evaluate the various services of the prosperity centers which will lead to greater collaboration locally and statewide. Outside of this great task, I have been presented with numerous opportunities to gain experience in other areas. I have represented Catalyst Miami at a public hearing advocating against Florida Medicaid Reform, which would increase hardship for low-income, elderly, and the disabled population. I am also working on an article for publication in the Georgetown Poverty Law Journal. The unique and rewarding aspect about interning at Catalyst Miami is that I am not given busy work; I am made an integral member of the team.
Recently, I was notified that I have been selected as a Pubic Ally. This program is a ten month apprenticeship where I will be placed at a non-profit within the county where I will contribute to the development of that organization. At the end of this exciting journey, next year, I desire to enter law school and continue my life as a public servant.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jacob Coker-Dukowitz, our Advocacy Coordinator, Writes a Letter to the Editor of The Miami Herald

Budget cuts would put lives at risk

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s proposed budget, if approved, would be a crippling blow to the health and well-being of our economy and our residents, cutting core services and frontline jobs during a time of high unemployment. Miami-Dade cannot afford the same unpopular slash-and-burn tactics that Gov. Rick Scott used in the state budget. According to The Miami Herald, 93 percent of Miami-Dade County residents don’t want social services cut. And, while anger towards overpaid staff is widespread, most residents don’t want cuts to frontline county workers who earn less than $80,000 a year.
Cutting services and jobs will result in more unemployment, more foreclosures and a further eroded tax base, placing the safety of our families at risk.
Miami-Dade County currently funds domestic violence programs such as MUJER, social-service organizations such as Switchboard and food banks such as Curly’s House that serve thousands of residents. The proposed 50-percent cut to any of these organizations could translate to loss of lives. County funding for these programs leverages millions of dollars in private funding that flows into our community. Protecting our frontline county employees and nonprofit service providers from budget cuts will ensure that our community thrives.
Our Penny Wise Campaign derives its name from the expression, “Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.” The County Commission should not make short-term cuts that could have onerous long-term consequences.

Jacob Coker-Dukowitz, The Penny Wise Campaign & Catalyst Miami, Miami


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SURVIVING IN A DOWN ECONOMY… the recap

 By Bryan Troupe, Catalyst Miami Communications Intern

Today's Tip of the Iceberg roundtable discussion, hosted by Catalyst Miami and co-sponsored by Allegany Franciscan Ministries, was informative and thought-provoking. Discussions in the meeting ranged from cuts of federal funding to nonprofit organizations collaborating with one another. 

Daniella Levine, CEO and President of Catalyst Miami opened the Tip of the Iceberg roundtable discussion. During her opening she introduced a new program entitled “Nonprofit Leadership and Training Institute.” This program fits squarely in Catalyst's mission, to build individual leadership and strong organizations that work together to improve health, education and economic opportunity in all communities.The program will be launched in September 2011. 

Daniella also discussed how the attending organizations need to work together and form a platform for collaboration. 

Miguel Milanes of Allegany Franciscan Ministries gave a great quote by JFK: “When the word crisis is written in Chinese, it uses two characters. One character represents „danger‟ and the other represents opportunity.‟ He added, “This is an opportunity today to do something about this issue.”

Here is what some of the other individuals who attended said about the discussion:

“We need to continue meeting like this to bring forward nonprofit organizations--we need to collaborate more.” - Darryll Gaschler of Americorps Alums Chapter

“We need to be our own best advocate. “ - Harry Horgan, CEO of Shake-A-Leg Miami

“Participants had to think about what “real” collaboration is and how we can improve.” - Mario Coryell of NewOrg 

The second speaker, Patricia Robbins, is the Founder and Chairperson of Farm Share, Inc. Robbins is the only CBO who had increased funding in the last county budget because of the increased need and tremendous efficiency that her organization provides. However, she was just given a devastating budget cut from the state. She discussed how her foundation has given fruits and vegetables to those in need in cities around the state of Florida, including Miami Dade. Robbins also expressed, “We need to collaborate more to get a share of federal dollars. Our community is hard hit.”Robbins is referring to the state funding for FarmShare and its statewide network of nonprofit distribution affiliates. On May 26, Governor Rick Scott eliminated all state funding for Farm Share, $750,000, half the organization's budget.

“This will have tremendous negative effect on Miami Dade – up to a 50% cut,” Robbins says. The Tip of the Iceberg roundtable discussion gave great ideas for organizations to collaborate with each other in order to make an even bigger impact on specific issues. Attendees will be sure to speak of the discussions with their organizations in the upcoming days.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Catalyst Miami awarded Proclamation of Honor at Miami-Dade County School Board Meeting


By: Viviana Mauri, Communications Intern
            Last Wednesday, July 13th, 2011, marked a very special day for our nonprofit organization, Catalyst Miami. Our CEO & President Daniella Levine, the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) and the Children Leadership Training Institute (CLTI) programs of our Civic Life Academy were honored by Miami-Dade County's School Board Member of District 6, Raquel Regalado.
            Ms. Regalado was present at this year’s 2011 PLTI and CLTI graduations as a special guest speaker, and walked away from the event so impressed with the work of our Parent and Child Leadership and Civics education programs, that she decided to bestow this  Proclamation of Honor  upon our organization, Catalyst Miami.
            Present to receive our Proclamation of Honor with Daniella Levine were members of our staff, our School Engagement Director, Abigail Asgaralli, and our CLTI Coordinator, Lizabeth Verjano. Among the School Board members who also shared kind words of the work Catalyst Miami has completed and presented to our South Florida community were Dr. Gilbert “Tee” Holloway, Dr. Marta Perez, and Chair Ms. Perla Tabares Hantman. Also commending Catalyst Miami were Mr. Martin Karp and Dr. Larry Feldman.


             Additionally being recognized at last Wednesday's School Board meeting was the Heaven on Earth Foundation. View below pictures taken at the Proclamation of Honor School Board Meeting and click here for Raquel Regalado's official photo album of the special moment.















A Reminder to those who RSVPed to Tip of the Iceberg?

Don't forget to join us tomorrow, from 12-2PM at the Catalyst Miami Training Room!
Although RSVP deadline was today before 12 PM, Call in as soon as possible!
You might have the chance to join us for this very special event!
Lunch will be sponsored by Allegany Franciscan Ministries.

Interns for Impact: ALEJANDRA SALGADO

ALEJANDRA SALGADO


Hey! My name is Alejandra Salgado and I am a summer intern at Catalyst Miami. As an intern, I contribute to the Catalyst Miami's blog by writing of events I have attended or different articles and websites I personally come across and would like to share. So far, I have blogged about the Miami-Dade County Mayoral Forum, a recent hike in Florida’s minimum wage and there's more to come! I often come across many interesting articles that relate to social justice, social services or human rights that I share with my friends on Facebook or Jumo, and now the Catalyst Miami blog. My hope is that people will read what I share and either learn something new, share with others, or even change their opinion on something.

I graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations. I also completed a minor in History and a certificate in European Studies. Recently, I completed a Masters degree in Politics from New York University. While in New York I had the amazing opportunity to intern at Amnesty International USA, my first nonprofit experience. This past March I moved back to Miami to get involved in nonprofit work in the city I grew up in and love. Daniella Levine and Catalyst Miami has given me the opportunity to meet other professionals in the nonprofit field and attend events which helped get me back in the loop of Miami’s politics and human services scene. I have also had the opportunity to intern at The Education Fund, helping with their annual art auction, and exposing me to a new side of nonprofits for me.

In the future I hope to continue to be involved with nonprofits, specifically ones that address issues of poverty, whether that is education, maternal health care or housing. I am soaking in everything I learn from Catalyst Miami so that I can use it in my future career at a nonprofit.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Empowering Families through Financial Literacy


By: Bryan Troupe, Catalyst Miami Communications Intern 



Maisah Williams is a Certified Financial Counselor with Catalyst Miami's Prosperity Campaign. The campaign's aim is to assist families and individuals in long term stability. "We don't provide just a quick cover up," Maisah says, "We are solution oriented. We help people get to a level in life where they are self-sufficient, meaning they are able to not only locate resources, but to maintain those resources as well." ...A young high school graduate of inner-city Miami has been accepted into Miami-Dade College - but her family cannot afford it.

“Tonya” and her family lack the financial knowledge and resources needed to assist in financial aid or grant opportunities.  Through a friend of a friend, Tonya finds out about the Prosperity Campaign, which can assist her with financial aid and other financial resources for college. Tonya meets with Maisah, who is able to assist Tonya with completing her financial aid report and give her additional financial education. The story does not end there.

Tonya then speaks about her mother with Maisah. Tonya’s mother is currently unemployed, and combinations of a weak economy and having to use unemployment compensation to support a family have her mother depressed. With only a high school diploma, finding a job in Miami Dade County is almost impossible. The mother, “Vivian”, comes into the office the next day to speak with Maisah, who is able to enroll the mother into Miami Dade College and help her set up financial aid.

“One of the great ways we are able to benefit and educate the community is through word of mouth.” Maisah says.

The Prosperity Campaign does not only focus on financial education. Some of the other components of other organization include: helping individuals with their Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), free tax preparation, financial budgeting, and savings planning.


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The Second Session of Democracy Summer

By Bryan Troupe, Catalyst Miami Communications Intern

The second session of Democracy Summer was a success! Participants discussed a variety of different topics ranging from a neo-liberalism (headed by Jake Coker-Dukowitz) to the dos and don'ts of lobbying (presented by our CEO Daniella Levine). Democracy Summer’s goal is for nonprofit organizers to be able to advocate more efficiently after completing the 8-week program.
There were several group activities that kept the members of the group interested in the opportunity to learn a lot more about each other. One of the activities, aptly named "Six Degrees of Separation", consisted of each individual making a list of things that they liked, and then finding others in the group that liked at least five of those same things.
LaRhonda Odom headed another great activity. This one aimed to show how the wealthiest 10% compared to the bottom 90% of income owners. Ten participants were seated in a line of ten chairs, when suddenly six of those seated were made to stand as their chairs were given to one person - who represented the top 10% of the wealthiest members of society. An observation that many of the group made was that those removed from their seats appeared to have a difficult time organizing themselves in order to get those chairs back that were owned by one person. This seemed to identify with the top 10% of today's most wealthy individuals being given preference in the tax system, while the rest of society are not able to properly organize themselves in order to create a level playing field.
This informative group session ended Week 2 on an incredible and positive note. The following session is titled "Organizing Concepts." Week 3 here we come!

Democracy Summer is a program of Catalyst Miami being offered by our Civic Life Academy through the sponsorship of the Allegany Franciscan Ministries.  


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Live Entertainment Rocks Saturday's Birthday Bash

By:  Bianca Mijares, Catalyst Miami Communications Intern
       Viviana Mauri, Communications Intern
       Cheryl Mizell, Communications Director




The Patxi Pastor Allstar Band promises to "lively up" the birthday party for Daniella Levine and Laura Levey this upcoming Saturday.  

Alto Reed's most recognizable performances include the intro to the song, "Turn the Page" and his saxophone solo in "Old Time Rock 'n Roll."  Reed was inducted to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame with the Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band in 2004.  The Ventures, also known as, "Rock & Roll's Greatest Guitar Band," invited him to perform on one of TV's Greatest Theme Songs, "Hawaii 50", for their induction ceremony into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  He has worked during his career with artists including George Thorogood, Otis Rush, Grand Funk, Spencer Davis, and Foghat.

Leroy Romans is an owner at LSR production, music producer at Fuller Sound Mastering, and musician for The Original Wailers and Maxi Priest.  He has created music, samples and tracks for today's popular artists like P.Diddy, Rihanna, and Pitbull.  He has collaborated on a number of successful albums, among them, the Grammy-nominated, "Third World." 


Other special guests include Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and Co-Founder of The Bob Seger Silver Bullet Band Alto Reed on saxophone and Multi-Grammy Nominated Producer & Keyboardist Leroy Romans.



Leroy has aligned a team of professional partners including Artists, Musicians, Film Makers, Marketing Professionals, and I.T. Specialists with the purpose of creating and forming a series of companies that will promote his brand and services to a continually larger audience.  These companies have advanced the thing he loves most about the music industry: the ability to advocate a strong voice within communities, give back, and making a difference through his music.

Join the Catalyst Miami staff along with the Patxi Pastor AllStar Band on Saturday to celebrate the birthdays of  Daniella Levine and Laura Levey from  6 - 11pm  at the home of Laura and Lewis Levey, 4777 Pinetree Drive, Miami Beach. Come and enjoy great paella, drinks and music on Saturday -- July 16th!  In lieu of a birthday present, Daniella and Laura appreciate your gifts to Catalyst Miami:  NICE gifts of $50, GREAT gifts of $75 and AWESOME gifts of $100.  Please RSVP and make your GIFT donations online NOW at www.hscdade.org



Carlos A. Gimenez to Host Proposed 2011-2012 Budget Facebook Town Hall Meeting

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY MAYOR CARLOS A. GIMENEZ TO HOST 
PROPOSED 2011-2012 BUDGET FACEBOOK TOWN HALL MEETING

(MIAMI, July 13, 2011) – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez will hold a first of its kind Facebook town hall meeting TODAY July 14, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.  Mayor Gimenez will answer questions submitted on Facebook from residents and employees they may have about the proposed Fiscal Year 2011-2012 budget via www.miamidade.gov/mayor

WHO:            

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez
                       
WHAT: 

2011-2012 Proposed County Budget Presentation Social Media Town Hall Meeting

WHERE:        www.miamidade.gov/mayor
                       
WHEN:          TODAY July 14, 2011
                        7:00 p.m.

Official Flyer of "Tip of the Iceberg? Surviving in a Down Economy"



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Catalyst Miami's friend, Laura Levey

By: Viviana Mauri, Communications Intern
This Saturday, July 16th, 2011, marks Catalyst Miami’s Birthday Bash Celebration for Daniella Levine and Laura Levey at the home of Laura and Lewis Levey. 

         
   As the supporters and readers of Catalyst Miami’s online media sites and blog, you definitely know well our President & CEO, Daniella Levine, but you may want to learn more about our event’s hostess, Mrs. Laura Levey.
         
Mrs. Levey was introduced to our nonprofit organization, Catalyst Miami, through her grade school friend, our Vice President of Community Partnerships, Karla Gottlieb. Mrs. Levey spoke only the kindest words of her grade school classmate, calling Karla a great friend whom she knows not only works very hard on behalf of Catalyst Miami, but believes the passion for her work truly comes from the goodness of her heart. She is deeply moved by Karla’s devotion to her community.


A mother of five children, Laura shares that her passion of giving is something she hopes to transfer to her kids by supporting organizations such as Catalyst Miami. Laura shared: “I love to be involved with the community. They need my help.” She fears, “too many organizations are disappearing.”

           
Laura shared with our Communications Director, Cheryl Mizell, her admiration for our Catalyst Miami CEO & President Daniella Levine as well as for the work she has accomplished in both Miami-Dade County and the international community. Additionally, she shared her recognition for the respect that Daniella commands within the Jewish community.
Among the three public concerns Catalyst Miami identifies (economic opportunity, health, and education), the one Laura focused on was education. She is deeply grateful to the work Catalyst Miami has conducted in schools to support the children and families who cannot afford the supplies and help they need to succeed. 
At only three days away, you are still in time to RSVP for this Saturday evening’s 6-11PM beautiful Birthday Bash for Daniella & Laura! Please do so by contacting our Events Coordinator, Monica Matteo-Salinas, at (305) 576-5001 x 22 or e-mailing her at monicas@hscdade.org. In lieu of a birthday gift, the birthday girls request a $50 donation to your nonprofit organization, Catalyst Miami. See you then for a delicious Spanish paella, live music and a great time!

Visit our website, www.hscdade.org, to view our official invite (Also below)!



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tip of the Iceberg? Surviving in a Down Economy

Dear Champions of Civic Health, YOU ARE INVITED!



Tip of the Iceberg? Surviving in a Down Economy
July 20th 12AM-2PM
A Lunch sponsored by Allegany Franciscan Ministries
Training Center
1900 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 200  Miami, FL 33132 
RSVP to Amanda Schubert at amandas@hscdade.org or 305 576 5001 x 48

Are your revenues down? Are your expenses up? Is the cash flow not flowing?

  • Come for roundtable discussion to explore the forces at play and how we can fight back, survive and thrive.
  • Downsize, merge and innovate: but don't give up your dreams.
  • Case studies on recent closures and reductions at C-One, Bertha Abess and Farm Share.
  • Analysis and response from area experts.

Speakers will include representatives from:
  • Hands on Miami (currently in a state of suspended operations)
  • Farm Share (facing dramatic cuts from a state budget veto)


In addition to hosting this important conversation, we will announce 
3 exciting developments of Catalyst Miami

Official flyer coming soon!

RSVP for this Saturday's Birthday Celebration!


If you haven't done so yet, please RSVP by Thursday by contacting our Event Coordinator, Monica Matteo-Salinas!
MAKE your contribution to our official website, www.hscdade.org
 &
 JOIN our 
Birthday Bash Event Page for this beautiful evening in Miami Beach!
See you then!



Monday, July 11, 2011

Interns for Impact: SCARLETT MONTENEGRO


SCARLETT MONTENEGRO


Hello everyone! My name is Scarlett Montenegro, and I am currently an intern at Public Allies Miami with Catalyst Miami. No day is the same here, I can come in and create a new flyer for a fundraiser or I can be interviewing new prospects for next year’s Public Allies Miami class. I have gotten the chance to work on a variety of interesting projects with my supervisor and Public Allies Miami Director Asha Loring, as well as the rest of the Public Allies team. My supervisor had this to say about my time with Public Allies Miami, “In her short time with us, Scarlett has become an integral part of our team. Her follow through and dedication have truly increased our capacity to support Miami’s nonprofit sector.” The Public Allies team has made me feel like another co-worker rather than an intern. Throughout my time here I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the growing network of Public Allies Miami. I’ve worked closely with my team preparing end of the year events for Public Allies Miami class of 2011. I was part of the preparation for their Presentations of Learning (which by the way were amazing)! I also helped set up and coordinate their successful Graduation at Jungle Island Ballroom Tree top, where we celebrated their accomplishments.
 I’ve learned so much in the past month, I can now say that I’ve written a press release and have planned for fundraising events. Social Media is also one of my fortes here.  I’ve created Public Allies Miami a twitter account which you can now follow and scoop in on all the new great things we are working on. I’ve also worked with YouTube and Facebook.  Not only do I get to work with Public Allies Miami but also with Catalyst Miami. I am currently working with Daniella Levine and other interns here on an article on poverty which we hope to publish soon for the Georgetown School of Law. I’m going to be working on this article even after my internship here is over. It will be a great reward and accomplishment to see my name published in a Law journal.
 I am originally from Miami. I graduated cum laude from G Holmes Braddock Senior High School, one of the largest schools in Miami-Dade County. I am one out of eleven scholars of the first ever Posse Foundation Miami, attending Mount Holyoke College, in South Hadley, Massachusetts. I am currently a second year majoring in Sociology with a Nexus Minor in Law and Public Policy. I’m also the new InternQueen Ambassador at Mount Holyoke College.  I am presently working on a project of my own on campus that will take place in the spring semester of 2012. I am working closely with the Career Development Center, President Pasquerella, and other staff on creating an event inspired by the non-profit Dress for Success that will give young women on campus the empowerment they need to succeed in the work force. When I graduate, I hope to enter Law School and become a great lawyer in the City of Miami.
 While working at Catalyst Miami I’ve also developed a passion for non-profits and hope to one day have one of my own. The skills and tool sets I’ve learned while interning here will help me reach my goals. I thank Catalyst Miami, Public Allies Miami, and The Posse Foundation for such a great opportunity.  Feel free to contact me via Twitter @scarmontenegro or email at monte22s@mtholyoke.edu.
Thank you, Scarlett Montenegro