Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series follows this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns as they reflect on 11 weeks spent working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog, we hear from Ibukun Ode-Martins, who spent her summer with Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.), where she worked with the Y.O.U. team and stakeholders to develop a strategic plan and objectives for the next year.
College: Case Western Reserve University
Hometown: Abuja, Nigeria – currently living in Cleveland
Internship Host Site: Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.)
Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?
I have a great interest in working in the nonprofit or public service sector, and in finding how I can be a contributing member of the Cleveland community after learning a lot more about the city since starting my graduate program. It felt like it was exactly what I was looking for, and I did not hesitate to apply.
The most valuable aspect of my internship experience has been the incredible support and opportunities I received at Y.O.U. That support exposed me to a range of opportunities to get involved with or be a part of, including the annual board retreat, their annual golf outing fundraiser as well as being a part of implementing a new feedback system. My supervisor and mentor were invested in my professional development and helping me meet the goals I had for the summer. I’m very grateful for this experience.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
I enjoy taking walks around my neighborhood area!
After completing my graduate degrees, I would like to get some experience working in the philanthropy or community development space. I’m also interested in being part of a nonprofit organization in Nigeria that is focused on mental health care and awareness, especially among the youth population.
How has this internship helped you grow professionally?
This internship has helped me get a good grasp of the different working parts in a nonprofit organization. I have had the opportunity to attend professional development programs and work with the evaluation team while also learning more about the development, executive, programs, and client-facing portion of Y.O.U. With this being my first time participating in an internship, I’ve been able to gain some understanding in organizational collaboration, strategic planning, and fundraising – among other things.
The internship has further pushed me out of my bubble and allowed me to feel even more comfortable bringing my voice or thoughts to the conversation and taking advantage of any opportunity I find.
Where would you take a friend who is visiting Cleveland for the first time?
I would take them to Ohio City to visit West Side Market and play games at Tabletop, and we would also visit Voinovich Bicentennial Park to take some pictures.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
You should do yourself the favor and apply. It’s a great opportunity to build on your professional skills and build relationships. In the interview process, be authentic and speak to your strengths.