Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series follows this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns as they spend 11 weeks working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog, we hear from Martin Cantera, who is working with Hispanic Alliance on its community engagement initiatives – providing comprehensive support to the agency’s new Welcome Hub, in addition to researching and compiling information related to the Northeast Ohio Association of Hispanic Health.
College: Baldwin-Wallace University
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
Internship Host Site: Hispanic Alliance
How did you first hear about the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program?
I first heard about the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program in January, when my academic advisor and I were looking for summer internships that could help me improve as a person, grow professionally, and achieve my post-college career goals. My advisor suggested that I look at the summer internship program at the Cleveland Foundation.
Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?
I thought it would be a perfect fit for me. I thought it would be a priceless opportunity for me to connect with other college students who may have similar community outreach and development passions. Finally, I thought it was time to break out of my social introvert shell and broaden myself.
What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience, and what are you most looking forward to?
The most valuable aspect of my internship experience is being able to get a glimpse of what I could be doing in the professional world, all while making some good friends along the way in the 2017 summer internship cohort. I am mostly looking forward to empowering youth to push themselves and achieve their dreams by being a 24/7 resource.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your internship experience, and what skills are hoping to develop through this experience?
The most challenging aspect of my internship experience is finding efficient ways to contribute in meetings with organizations that the Hispanic Alliance partners with. I am hoping to learn how to communicate/engage better with professionals. A skill that I already possess, but would love to improve, is being able to interact with more ethnic groups that have different ideologies and religious beliefs, all while making professional connections for the community.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
I enjoy going to the Metroparks and visiting different museums, like the art museum and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And of course I have to eat well, so I like to try small, local, family restaurants.
What are your career goals after college?
My career goal after college is to work for a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving the education of underprivileged children in urban areas while continually laying foundations after high school and college to pave the way for their personal and academic success. After I gain years of experience in a nonprofit organization and through volunteer work, I would love to launch my own nonprofit that focuses on children and education.
How has this internship helped you grow professionally?
This internship has helped me become more punctual and responsible with work. I hope to gain professional insights from my supervisor and other workforce professionals.
How has this internship helped you grow personally?
This internship has help me grow as a person by showing me how much responsibility I am capable of handling. In turn, that boosts my confidence.
What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?
My favorite public space in Cleveland is Terminal Tower.
Where would you take a friend who is visiting Cleveland for the first time?
I would take a friend to Playhouse Square, or to an Indians baseball game.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
The advice I would give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program is: Go for it! You should never pass up an opportunity where the experience could be life-changing. Think to yourself, would you rather apply and find out you did not get it, or not apply at all and never know? The other piece of advice I have is to always be confident in yourself and your work. There is no one in the world who can tell you what you are worth. Be true and be you because right now is your time to fly.