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BW students give back to the Cleveland community through internships

Photo of the 2019 Cleveland Foundation summer interns. Front row: BW students Tameka Coleman '20 (fourth from left), Samantha Greenfield '20 (fifth from left), and Audra Mahon '19 (seventh from left)For three BW students, this was a "Summer of Purpose" spent participating in The Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program.

The competitive program pairs college students and recent alumni with Cleveland-area nonprofits for an 11-week internship that benefits the budding community leaders, the organizations they are paired with and the people whose lives these nonprofits positively impact.

Developing "community outreach skills"

Tameka Coleman '20, a public health major, worked at The Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) doing community outreach for programs focusing on urban agriculture, food security and healthy food access, such as Produce Perks.

"Through this experience, I am hoping to gain better community outreach skills," Coleman shared in a Cleveland Foundation blog post. "I want to learn new and effective ways to reach out to the community and get them involved in programs that are offered."

Coleman's decision to participate in the internship program stems from a passion for nonprofit work. While Coleman may not have all her career goals set in stone, she knows that her future will involve giving back to the community.

"I am still figuring it out," Coleman said in her blog post, "but I know that eventually, I want to start my own nonprofit dedicated to the city I was born and raised in, Cleveland, and eventually expand to a national or even global level."

Immersion in a nonprofit organization

Creative writing major Audra Mahon '19 served as a development intern at Eliza Bryant Village, the United States' oldest continually operating African American-founded, long-term care facility for seniors. Mahon has had the opportunity to lead different projects and events for the Village.

"Working in the Development Office at the Village has been beneficial in my growth as a young professional; it has refined my interpersonal skills, and further developed my grant proposal writing and event planning expertise," Mahon shared in her blog post.

"However, the most important aspect of my internship is being immersed in a nonprofit organization," Mahon continued. "I see the day-to-day life of my supervisors in the Development Office, as well as the Administration Office, the nurses, the residents and so many other working parts of the Village. My nonprofit host site works like a well-oiled machine, and it has been wonderful to see what makes the Village tick."

Collaboration and networking

Samantha Greenfield '20, an arts management and entrepreneurship major, was chosen to intern for Cleveland Public Theatre, where she gained experience with standard accounting procedures as they apply to nonprofits.

An aspiring entrepreneur, Greenfield says in her internship blog that the experience has helped to build skills for her future.

"I have learned how a medium-sized nonprofit operates - how many aspects there are and how each department works together. I also have been able to work more autonomously and figure out innovative ways of getting tasks completed. Getting insight into many departments while they plan an enormous event helped me learn how to be an entrepreneur and manager."

Greenfield identifies the larger "collaboration of leaders, artists, and people coming together to help the world and the Cleveland community" as her most valuable takeaway from her "Summer of Purpose."

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