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 Simone Malone, who spent her summer working with SPACES Gallery, where she undertook a multifaceted Salesforce Management project and helped to plan and implement SPACES’ 40th Anniversary Exhibitions as well as a neighborhood project coordinated with Hingetown Culture Works.
I decided to participate because my passions lie in building equity in communities and helping others through service. The Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program aims at doing this by partnering with nonprofit agencies across Northeast Ohio and providing sources of funding so they can carry out their missions. I ultimately wanted exposure to more nonprofits and people in the community doing this work.
What was the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
The most valuable aspect of my internship experience has been the ability to recognize work culture and identify attributes of an organization that I want to be a part of. The current exhibition at SPACES is called “A Color Removed,” by artist Michael Rackowitz. The exhibition deals with community and police relations with a focus on the fatal shooting of twelve-year-old boy Tamir Rice. I value working at an organization that pushes the envelope and explores topics such as human and civil rights, equity and inclusion, and is responsive to international, national, and local community issues through programming.
This internship at SPACES has been valuable for me because it made me realize that I want to be part of an organization that aligns with my morals and passions. I appreciate SPACES because they are intentional about being an institution that is accessible and inclusive to all communities, especially the neighborhood it’s in. This experience has taught me that these sorts of attributes will be important to me as I move forward with career exploration.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
When I’m not working I love to spend time with, and cook for, my family and friends. I enjoy trying different Latin restaurants around Cleveland and look forward to starting salsa classes this fall. Additionally, I enjoy going to community events and discussions about building equity in the city of Cleveland. I also enjoy going to church and listening to local gospel choirs.
This internship has helped me grow professionally because I have been able to make connections amongst my cohort, the Cleveland Foundation staff, SIP alums, as well as others at SPACES. I would like to continue building my network with people who are interested in collaborating and pulling resources together to help underserved communities.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
Absolutely go for it! When preparing your application, be sure to answer the essays with responses that speak to your passions and topics that are relevant to your experiences. I would also advise you to have someone review your application for additional feedback before submission. Just be you and don’t be afraid to be honest!