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 Tameka Coleman, who is spending her summer working at The Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) where she is supporting programs that focus on food security, healthy food access and urban agriculture through data collection, data management and promotion.
College: Baldwin Wallace University
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Internship Host Site: Ohio State University Extension
Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?
I knew that I wanted my internship to revolve around working with a nonprofit. When you think of the Cleveland Foundation, you cannot help but to think of nonprofits! I read what the program entailed and knew that I had to get this internship.
What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
So far, the most valuable aspect of my internship experience has been connecting with people whose careers are focused on helping the community. It is nice to be able to network with people who are successful and doing things that I see myself doing in the future.
What skills are hoping to develop through this internship experience?
I am working on community outreach for a program called Produce Perks and some of the sister programs associated with it. Through this experience I am hoping to gain better community outreach skills. I want to learn new and effective ways to reach out to the community and get them involved in programs that are offered.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
When I am not working I really enjoy going to the movies. I love different types of movies ranging from horror to superhero movies. I am also probably getting ice cream from Mitchell’s. It is one of my weaknesses.
What are your career goals after college?
Throughout my life I have always had a lot of career goals, however, the one thing they all had in common was giving back to my community. I am still figuring it out, but I know that eventually I want to start my own nonprofit dedicated to the city I was born and raised in, Cleveland, and eventually expand to a national or even global level.
How has this internship helped you grow personally?
So far, this internship has helped me realize that I can be myself no matter who I am speaking too. I have started to realize how important it is to let my personality show. First impressions mean a lot.
What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?
My favorite public space in Cleveland would have to be Euclid Beach. There is this little spot by a bridge where you can sit on the rocks. It is a nice place to go to just sit, think, and enjoy nature.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
I would tell them to go for it! Applying for an internship with a place like the Cleveland Foundation can be very intimidating. There are going to be a lot of applicants and it is competitive, but the person has to believe that they can do it. Sometimes we are our own biggest hurdle. Put in the effort, let your light shine, and do it! I promise you won’t regret it.