“The impact of volunteering allows you to feel someone else’s journey.”- Alison Désir
Alison Désir’s parents are both immigrants. Their main priority was to give Alison every opportunity possible in life to grow. As a young girl, Désir participated in various extracurricular activities such as dance, karate and art. Growing up she believed that every child was given these same opportunities; however, she quickly learned that this was not the case. This experience fostered in her the desire to make a difference in others’ lives. Her passion — to help others reach their full potential — led her to volunteer with PowerPlay to speak at the 2nd Annual STARS Citywide Girls Leadership Summit in June 2016.
During her time volunteering with PowerPlay, one of Alison’s most memorable experiences was when she was a career panelist at the Leadership Academy, a youth-development program for high school girls. Through this platform, she was able to talk to the girls about her experiences and career. One of the young women stated that she wanted to be a singer and Alison encouraged her to sing as often as possible. The young girl sang at that very moment in front of the panelists and everyone in attendance. This took Désir by surprise and she exclaimed, “What this young girl did took courage and confidence; her vulnerability in front of a crowd is admirable.”
Warm, innovative and empowering were the three words Alison used to describe PowerPlay and we believe these words, in turn, describe her so well. In 2013, Alison created Harlem Run as a way to connect people in her community through fitness and an active lifestyle. Additionally, Alison has a BA in History, an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Regional Studies and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University. With support from her family, friends and community, Alison believes she can accomplish any goal. Even though her days are long and busy, Alison finds the time to support others when she can and is an inspiration to our girls at PowerPlay.