Hello my name is Yeraldi Perez. I am part of the 2015-2016 Public Allies NY class. I am currently doing my ten-months of service at CASA (Community Action for Safe Apartments), which is located in South West Bronx. I am a native New Yorker, born in East Harlem, and raised in the South Bronx. Growing up I was involved in various community programs and that helped me understand the importance of involving myself in the community and appreciating it for what it is. When I was first accepted into Public Allies I had just graduated college a few months prior and was flat broke. I also had no formal training in community organizing and so I was really excited to be able to serve in my community and learn about the work that was already being done. CASA’s work focuses on housing, but we understand that the issue of housing, especially in the South Bronx, is interconnected with so many other issues and to a much larger system. Living through housing issues as a child/teenager, I understand the importance of not just having a roof over your head but being able to have a safe, affordable and secure home. Moving forward with this work, I hope to support people in seeing themselves as leaders, growing their skills, and creating or strengthening a sense of community so that there is true growth, empowerment and transformation.