How I Spent My Summer: Amber Zemek

Amber Zemek

Amber Zemek

The mission of The Gathering Place is to support, educate and empower individuals and families touched by cancer through programs and services provided free of charge. They have two locations: Beachwood and Westlake. Since I started here, I have been working on marketing and outreach initiatives and have had the opportunity to meet with every staff member to talk with them about their role in the organization and how they have an impact. This internship gives me the “behind the scenes” look into various nonprofit organizations within the Cleveland region.

I am studying to be a school counselor and will be graduating next May. As a future school counselor, it’s important for me to be familiar with organizations that are out in the community that not only provide counseling services, but to also recognize any and all opportunities to form a positive and beneficial relationship between students, families, faculty, staff, and other outside organizations.

One of the programs that I have had the pleasure being a part of is Parachutes, a bi-weekly group for children who need ongoing support related to the illness of a loved adult family member.

My heart was racing when I heard the children coming down the hall to meet in the “big room.” As soon as they walked through the door and flung their little bodies on the comfy purple couch, a sense of joy came over me and I couldn’t hold back the laughter and smile. Suddenly, it hit me. At this moment in time, they are happy little children. If they aren’t scared, then I shouldn’t be either.
I was so impressed with the facilitator’s ability to adapt to the constantly changing needs of each child. The children were split between two groups and each group did a different activity. Before I knew it, itwas snack time which meant that the group was coming to an end. From the moment of actually seeing the children until the moment that I was walking out to my car, I felt so comfortable with the entire process and excited that not only did I experience this one time, but that I am going to be doing similar activities as a career.

Each week we use this space to give each of our interns a chance to reflect on their internship experiences. Placement: The Gathering Place. School: Cleveland State University, School Counseling Graduate Program.