PULSE: Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience


2010-11 PULSE Participants: 1st Row (from left to right) Alicia Donner, Andrea Bowman, Abigail Stern, Maggie Graham 2nd Row: Anna Pawsey, Elizabeth (Dill) Dillon, Beth Glick, Laura Harnish.

PULSE: Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience, is the reason I moved to Pittsburgh in 2005.

Ok. Alright. So maybe it's not the only reason (my gentlemen suitor [now husband!] moved here first) but PULSE was certainly a huge incentive to relocate to the city. I didn't realize at the time I would be cultivating not one, but two romances that year. It's true. I feel in love with the suitor... and with Pittsburgh.

So, what exactly is PULSE? In short:

"PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience) is an organization committed to cultivating a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh. We mentor a new generation of urban leaders who understand and appreciate the importance of the city for the world's future. PULSE participants (PULSErs) work in Pittsburgh non-profits, live with other participants in intentional community and participate in ongoing training and development."

It was an honor to spend an afternoon with the current group of participants, and they agreed to let you take a peak into the PULSE house. I was thrilled to be joined by photographer Melissa McMasters who donated her time and talent to make this blog post possible. I just love her photographs! Be sure to check out her website and blog.

Let's take a look at what goes on inside the PULSE house:


Hangin' in the PULSE kitchen. Isn't the black board fun! [Who doesn't love a BFF weekend?!] That's Chris Cooke, PULSE's executive director, in the background. We will meet him later.


I was amazed at how many of this years participants knit/craft/make art. 


Abigail enjoying a book on the window seat. 


PULSERs cook meals together several times a week. I sometimes still find myself cooking enough food to feed 7 others! 


The house fits 8 quite comfortably. Each PULSEr has their own room. 

Yay! Chris Cooke, PULSE's executive director has joined the group. He has made so many great improvements to the program, and he is going to be delivering a very special and exciting announcement about PULSE's growth this Friday at... 

PULSEations! 

PULSEations is PULSE's anual gathering that is always incredibly fun. You get to mingle with the fabulous 8, enjoy live music and eat delicious food. Purchase your tickets, and support a program that brings young talent to the 'Burgh. It will take place at Union Project this Friday April 15th, starting at 6:00pm.

For those of you who know of a non-profit organization that would be interested in having a PULSEr join their team, contact information for PULSE is available via their website.

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In closing, I asked the PULSErs to give some advice to college students who are considering the program and/or moving to Pittsburgh after they complete their schooling. Here's what they had to say:

Name one reason why college students should consider applying to PULSE and moving to Pittsburgh after graduation.

Abbi: It's the best shift out of college, guaranteed. PULSE provides a community that's transitioning into the working world together, instead of having to do it alone.

Alicia: Being challenged and given the opportunity to grow in a safe and supportive environment has been vital as I enter the post college world.

Andrea: PULSE provides an environment to explore your professional and personal passions, with the support of your house, greater PULSE community, and connections throughout the city.

Anna: It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and move to a new place that has incredible opportunities to serve and discover yourself.

Beth: You get to live with and befriend some awesome strangers who will help you clean the house, explore the city, and process your post-college life.

Dill: PULSE is a testing ground for all kinds of projects-- creative arts, networking, volunteer service and even cooking.  It’s a great way to move to a new place!

Laura: PULSE is a great transition into life after college; you’re able to learn and grow in the context of a built-in community of people who are also interested in serving in Pittsburgh.

Maggie: Why not move to this beautiful city, make new friends, live with them, AND get professional experience & development, all at the same time?

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Pretty good reasons, right?