Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series followed this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns as they spent 11 weeks working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog we hear from Shaelin Maresco, who worked with BAYArts, where she participated in the creation and utilization of marketing materials for gallery shows and events, especially the Summer Art and Music Festival. She also helped to write and submit grant proposals in addition to developing a volunteer manual.
Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?
I have grown up in the Cleveland area my whole life. While Madison may be a good distance from downtown, I have always dreamed of working in the city. I think the Cleveland Foundation and Cleveland nonprofits in general have values and goals that align with my own. The program offered me the chance to experience both the city and surrounding areas, as well as the ability to immerse myself firsthand in all things nonprofit.
What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
I don’t think I could pick a single aspect that has been most valuable. This internship has taught me so much about myself and my future career goals. Working at BayArts, I got to see firsthand the positive impact that a well-run arts organization can have on a community. Everyone that comes in and leaves our doors is smiling and happy with their experience. Knowing that I may have played even a small part in that as a member of the staff this summer shows me I picked the correct career path and I am so excited for where it takes me after graduation.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
This is the first summer I have actually spent in the immediate Cleveland area. I have been able to take advantage of hikes in the Metroparks, various festivals, a trip to the zoo, exploring different record stores, and tasting all the incredible local eats.
How has this internship helped you grow professionally?
This internship has shown me all the ins and outs of running a successful nonprofit. No one has just one job in a small organization. You may have a specific job title, but there were days when our executive director was pulling weeds in the gardens on our campus. Passion truly is the driving force behind a successful operation. The staff at BAYarts oozes passion for what they do and what they stand for in the community. I will take all the skills I have learned this summer, and more importantly the passion for this line of work, and apply it to my future career.
How has this internship helped you grow personally?
This internship has helped me grow in showing me that it is okay to be my true self and bring that into my work. While a certain level of seriousness needs to be maintained in any business, I felt my quirkiness and outgoing personality were embraced at BAYArts. I no longer feel like I need to put on a façade of “all business” in my work life, and can let myself shine for who I am.
What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?
My favorite public space in Cleveland is Playhouse Square. I think it is truly a magical place that the city is fortunate to have. The shows put on there inspired me from a young age to get involved in theater. Later, as I was approaching high school graduation, I realized I wanted a career in the arts, but not necessarily in performing. Playhouse Square was the inspiration for that as well.