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Changing the world from home: IIC graduate Bryn Daly takes on role in Denver Human Services

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Media, Film & Journalism Studies

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By T. Michal Boddie, second-year graduate student in the MA in media & public communication program

Bryn Daly
Bryn Daly

When she was in Tanzania with the Peace Corps, teaching English students and assisting in an HIV/AIDS prevention initiative, Bryn Daly knew she could not and would not stop advocating for the welfare of her fellow human beings once she made it home.

When she graduated from the University of Denver with an MA in international and intercultural communication in 2018, the New York native was not simply looking to get her bills paid. She was looking for a way to continue doing what she’d done before coming to Denver—serve. 

Today (a year into a global pandemic that has restricted world travel), as the donations and drives coordinator for Denver Human Services, Daly practices exactly that.

“I never wanted money to be my focus or my motive,” Daly said, “but the fact that I can get people to use money for the right things—that’s exciting.”

Think of all it typically takes just to get oneself ready for the day, on any given day: clothing, hygiene products and, if children are in the picture, school supplies. As she organizes donations from local businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals, Daly works to ensure that folks in Denver—specifically those experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity—do not go without these essential items.

Denver Human Services regularly serves one in three Denver residents in some capacity, according to Daly, and not every city has a human services agency as robust. A donations program like the one Daly coordinates at DHS doesn’t exist in her hometown of Albany, NY, for example.

“We’re not trying to step in and support folks long-term with these projects,” Daly said, to be clear, “these are to help them stay on track themselves.”

But the little bit goes a long way. 

Over the past year, between the school supply drive and the holiday gift drive, DHS served over 2,000 people and provided about 1,800 kids with backpacks.

While working to constantly lengthen the roster of people and organizations who contribute to DHS can be a challenge for Daly, she said this is where her IIC knowledge comes in handy. 

“I basically faced my worst fear, which was somebody thinking I was trying to rob them or thinking I’m just some totally fake person or cause,” Daly said. “But it does help to understand your audience, which was a huge thing I learned in my program. I developed ways to really understand who I was talking to and how this can be best received.”

This fear has certainly subsided for Daly, who now says what she enjoys most about her work is the enthusiasm and commitment shown by Denver residents when it comes to giving and serving their neighbors. She enjoys “being the connection” between those people and those in need. 

After her time in Tanzania, Daly pursued an international and intercultural communication degree, hoping to give herself the tools to serve citizens of the world who need it. But since she took on this role in Denver, she has realized something.

“If you’re looking to make change, you don’t have to go far.”