#SummerOfPurpose: Eman Haj Alkhdair

A group of people from the legal aid society pose for a group photo with a giant check

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 Eman Haj Alkhdair, a Porter Cleveland Fellow interning with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

Eman's Head ShotEman Haj Alkhdair 

College: Wheaton College

Internship Host Site: The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?

The Legal Aid Society does incredible work that helps break the cycle of multigenerational poverty. I was inspired by their mission and enjoyed how it fell right in my lane of both humanitarian and legal work.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?

So far, the most valuable aspect has been the opportunity to delve into our donor outreach database. This is important because many nonprofit organizations use this same database; it is helpful in a much larger realm — thankfully, the work my internship entails allows me to practice on the database as well as take trainings for free!

How has this internship helped you grow professionally?

My experience at Legal Aid has helped me understand the nuances and sophistications of donor outreach work and fundraising in general. Additionally, it helped solidify my love for law and justice.

What are your career goals after college?

When I walked into this experience, I had my mind set on attending law school and was hoping that working in a legal setting would confirm these goals. Thankfully, it did, but I am no longer sure if I definitely want to be an attorney. I’m grateful I got to discover varying passions through working at the Development and Communications department of Legal Aid. This helped broaden my horizons and ignite in me the interest to pursue different careers. I’m not sure what careers just yet, but I’m 100% sure they must include people, justice, and making things better somehow.

Image of Eman standing outside with her phoneWhen you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?

I love going to festivals and discovering new healthy food and coffee spots! I’m a big fan of reading so I enjoy finding small coffee shops with excellent mochas and a sense of tranquility. I also really enjoy meeting strangers and striking up conversations; I love difference — I go to a lot of community-based events to get to know varying people and differing cultures.

What is your favorite public space in Cleveland?

I’ve fallen in love with Public Square and Uptown Avenue — they are filled with so much life and happiness; it is refreshing to be in those spaces.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program?

Go for it! It is a great journey of self-discovery. If you are not from here, you will fall in love with this city and its offerings. If you do not, you will definitely fall in love with what you offer the city. Either way, it is a rewarding, loving and enlightening experience to help another and grow.