STEP UP Spotlight - Ethan Allen

Jordan, Ethan and Jonathon at a recreational event

From left to right:  Jordan, Ethan and Jonathon at a recreational event

Tell us about yourself and where you come from?


I am a student at The University of Southern Mississippi.  I graduated from Oak Grove High School where I played football my freshmen through senior year.  My primary position was linebacker.  I have lived in Hattiesburg my entire life and come from a family of five—mom, dad, older sister, and a younger brother.  I learned early on to work hard for everything in life. 


Tell us your college major and your future goals?


I am a marketing major and will be applying for jobs in sales at the end of my senior year.  I plan to get experience in sales for 5-7 years and then apply for a marketing manager job. My long-term plan is to eventually become a marketing manager.   


What was your experience being a part of IDS when you started to volunteer?


My experience here at IDS and with the STEP UP Council in particular has been life changing. I have learned how to enjoy life and view life in a different way. The people I work with have pushed me out of my shell and motivated me to be a leader. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything and would really recommend this for everyone.


What was your experience with TRIAD Service AmeriCorps?


I have always wanted to serve and being in this program has helped me do that. Being a service member allows me to get out in the community and to give back. I love to help others and especially love to put a smile on other people’s faces


You have served as a leader in the TRIAD Service AmeriCorps Program and the STEP UP Council.  How has that been?


I didn't know what to think at first because of my being shy when I first got here. I have grown out of my shell and have enjoyed becoming and being a leader. To be honest, I never thought I would lead because I was always the type of guy to lay low and let others lead. It really has been life changing, and I’m forever grateful for this opportunity.


As you are the Co-President of the STEP UP Advisory Council, tell us about your future plans for the Council.


I plan to reach as many people as possible and get STEP UP's name out there. We want more people to be a part of this amazing experience, and we can reach more people by continuing to do service. When my position as president ends, I hope I leave the Council better than it was when I started.     


What have you learned from being a part of IDS and how it has improved your experience in the world of disability?


I have learned that anyone with a disability is just like anyone else.  You should always treat everyone the same, regardless if they have a disability or not.  Everyone deserves to be treated equally and have the same opportunities as everyone else.   


What advice would you give to others who’d be interested in being a part of IDS?

I can’t say it enough.  Being part of IDS is life changing, and I promise you won't regret it. It will be one of the best experiences that you will ever have.