Isaiah Jacobs – Program Leader (Public Ally AmeriCorps), Current Graduate Student in UConn Sport Management Program
“Throughout our nation’s history, lasting social change has always resulted from the courageous acts of many, not just the inspiration of the few. “
From 2014 to 2016, I spent my time as a public ally with the AmeriCorps Public Ally service organization in partnership with UConn Husky Sport. Public Allies is a national movement grounded in the conviction that everyone has the ability to be a leader. The organization prides itself in believing that everyone truly has the power to make a difference, and works to inspire individuals to believe in themselves, step up and act. We provided service under the mission to create an equitable society and to foster the diverse leadership necessary to sustain it. We work to change the face and practice of leadership in communities across the country by demonstrating our conviction that everyone can and should lead, and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility and come together.
A vital aspect of working as a Public Ally was the process of constructing and implementing a team service project held to benefit the community that we were stationed in. Luckily, I was stationed right in my hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. It was a pleasure giving back to the community that I grew up in and held so close to my heart.
To help fund this project, we decided as a group to host a 3-on-3-basketball tournament. Though the event was focused around it, basketball was simply acting as the driving force to get people in the door – this event was bigger than sports. It was an opportunity to bring local organizations together and partner with one another to host teams and enjoy the company of the community. I began to realize how successful our event was when people started asking when the next one was – people who were not concerned with the sport itself, but what that sport is able to produce. In holding this event, we exhibited the power that sport has to unite people and bring happiness to all of those immersed in its culture.