AmeriCorps VISTA member and UW-Milwaukee grad, Dom Portis, is currently serving with Milwaukee Succeeds as the Social & Emotional Learning Coordinator. Milwaukee Succeeds is an educational initiative that operates using a collective impact model; there, Dom co-facilitates a network of youth worker practitioners from over 30 different organizations mobilizing the network around the issue of Social & Emotional Learning. The network has successfully launched their ‘SEL Ambassador Program,’ a training and advocacy program that is intended to see over 100 participants in 2018. In addition to the Ambassador Program, a Youth Worker Professional Development training series will be offered to over 150 Youth Workers intended to build capacity of adults to be able to better serve our young people.
A little more about Dom:
If you could be a professional anything, what would you be?
There was a statement made by Kanye West around 2011 where he says he wants The Pope and other world leaders to attend his funeral. Through music he found the confidence to add his voice and influence to fashion and design; I have all the confidence in the world he won’t stop there. Kanye is a conqueror; and achieving high quality is his form of conquering. I think he’s mastered the art of not allowing himself to be limited to one box or one area of expertise. I wish to emulate that; the freedom to engulf myself in whatever it is that I’m passionate about at the time. If I could be recognized as a professional anything; it would be a professional Kanye West. (yes I just did that) A professional person of influence, who deserves to be there.
If you were a cereal, what would you be and why?
This is the easiest question for me to answer; REESES PUFFS. Reese’s are chocolate and often leave the milk in a different state than when we initially poured it in; that is my attempt in every interaction that I have with folks I try to leave them with something that they can take with them. Not necessarily to change anything about them but it is impossible to change the milk back to its original state after the cereal is gone. I try to leave folks with a token of my perspective that they continue to consider even after the cereal is no longer in the equation.
Who inspires you?
My mother. #1. She lives it. Never been one to worry about titles or recognition or credit for anything. She just does. It’s crazy. Langston Hughes would be my runner up. To be the epitome of cool, during the Harlem Renaissance, the coolest era for Black folks in America, and to think he’s an intellectual, a writer advocating for Black existence. Unreal. I can’t wait to get back to that.