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Member Spotlight

Public Allies

Rico Whitehead

Rico Whitehead, Public Ally, serves at Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC) as the Data Assistant. Rico works under the housing department and helps with identifying and recording opportunities for current and future residents to utilize. Rico conducts surveys in the Micro Marketing Recovery Program (MMRP) Area in the Auburn Gresham community on Chicago's South side and ensures the community is aware of the resources available to them.

Recently, Rico created and hosted an arts and craft event for senior citizens in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood. GAGDC offers events to keep senior 

citizens engaged and connected to the community.

Rico says "GAGDC has given me the tools needed to be ‘plug and play’ in various roles and diversify my skill set within the organization. I’m blessed for the opportunity to keep growing as a leader."

Thank you for your service and leadership, Rico!

Justice Plummer

Justice Plummer serves at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicago (BBBS) as the Volunteer and Family Engagement Public Ally apprentice. Justice develops capacity for the organization through family engagement and advising, program enhancements for mentor pairs, and supporting high school students to achieve their post-secondary goals.

Recently, Justice assisted with helping families find resources in their areas. She also created a list of resources to reference for families. She also attended the National Family Support Network virtual event, on "Developing and Sustaining Effective Parent Advisory Committees." These three activities are helping to move her work forward by allowing her to be a guide 

for families, as well as an active support for them.

Justice says her service year as a Public Ally has allowed her to evolve the assets that are within her; to tap into and become closer to her waiting gifts; and to learn how to do more without using more resources.

Thank you for your service and leadership, Justice!

Karizma Blackburn

Karizma Blackburn (She/Her) is a first year Public Ally placed at Namaste Charter School as their Student & Family Engagement Coordinator. In her time at Namaste, Karizma has taken her role to heart and finds ways to advocate for students. She has put in the time to get to know the students, to discover their assets and work with them to achieve success.

Karizma brings enthusiasm, grace and a welcoming energy to any room she inhabits. We are looking forward to seeing Karizma tap into her passion for agriculture, as she works to revitalize Namaste’s garden alongside the students and their families.

Karizma’s leadership within the Public Allies cohort is unparalleled. A seemingly effortless strength, she 

finds “small” gestures that contribute to an overall positive impact within our space. As a leader, Karizma exudes and exemplifies the spirit of community care.

Thank you for your service and leadership, Karizma!

Xitlaly “Laly” Quintero-Guzman

Xitlaly “Laly” Quintero-Guzman (They/Them) is a first year Public Ally placed at Erie Neighborhood House as the Literacy Program Assistant. In their time with Erie, Laly has spoken about loving the opportunity to work within their own community and being a hub for empowering the youth and adults they get to see on a weekly basis. Laly uses their experience with organizing and mobilizing people in their service.

Laly has grown confidence within their leadership at their placement and within the Public Allies cohort. Fellow allies are quick to comment on Laly’s caring and helpful nature - they take pride in being a source of support and a resource for all whom they come in contact with.

Laly’s ambitions since starting the program have seen them taking advantage of every training opportunity 

presented to them and in return, applying that knowledge within their time as an ally.

As Laly moves closer to completing their term of service, they worked diligently to set up the foundation to pursue programs in the UI/UX field. We are excited to see how Laly’s nature, assets and thirst for knowledge meld to create impactful user experiences.

Thank you for your service and leadership, Laly!