My experiences with the Cleveland Foundation and its summer internship program have provided me with a fresh new insight into community development and the nonprofit world. Participating in the program has opened numerous doors and allowed me to explore Cleveland to better understand the needs of its community and the existing projects and organizations that address them.
In fact, this morning I was invited to attend a meeting to review the grant applications that organizations submitted to the Cleveland Foundation and understand the criteria behind their decision-making. Knowing that in the future I will continue working in the nonprofit sector, reviewing grant proposals was very insightful! I cannot thank the Cleveland Foundation enough for these opportunities and experiences of getting to know passionate and successful people through the program.
Regarding my internship at Catholic Charities, one of my best experiences so far has to be celebrating Refugee Day ( June 20) with all the refugees. Usually as part of my internship I will give classes in time management, computer science, and English as a second language. I will translate legal documents to Spanish for the immigration attorney, or help set up apartments for new families to move in. Refugee day was an opportunity to taste delicious Nepalese food and dance along to the beats of African drums. Interacting with the refugees outside a formal setting allowed me to get to know them better and also to hear about the different ways they are integrating into Cleveland’s community. The photograph I’m sharing below is of that day.
Waking up at 5:00 am might sound a little crazy for some, but I like to think I’m a morning person. Part of my job at Esperanza Threads is working every Saturday at the Shaker Square Market selling organic clothing and apparel! Apart from meeting different clients and getting my morning cappuccino, I enjoy walking around and experiencing all the different smells, tastes and colors that the market has to offer. Farmers, sellers, and clients come from all over Cleveland to this market and a strong sense of community is felt. What else can I ask out of this summer?
Each week we use this space to give each of our interns the chance to reflect on their internship experiences. Marijose Vilá, undergraduate student at Wheaton College, was placed at Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services and Esperanza Threads.