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 Eric Grimm, who spent his summer at Holden Forests & Gardens, where he worked in close collaboration with members of the development team to establish and direct the People for Trees campaign to help restore the tree canopy in Northeast Ohio and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change and other factors on the health of our urban and rural forests.
College: University of Dayton
Hometown: Olmsted Falls, OH
Internship Host Site: Holden Forests & Gardens
Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?
Of course, I wanted a job, but I also wanted to grow my experience and professional skills. I especially wanted to experience a role in a community focused organization instead of a corporation.
What was the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
The most valuable aspect of the internship experience was witnessing the passion of those in the industry. Whether it was in my colleagues at Holden Forests & Gardens or when talking with other nonprofits, I was able to witness their passion for their work.
What was the most challenging aspect of your internship experience?
One of the most challenging aspects was changing my mindset and formulating planned content for months ahead instead of for immediate release like my other internships.
What are your career goals after college?
After college, I plan on attending law school, but if that does not end up, I would like to help nonprofits in marketing and communication.
This internship made me grow by allowing me to merge into different writing and communication styles. It also improved my critical thinking by making me find innovative ways to use common communication techniques, such as newsletters and targeted emails.
How has this internship helped you grow personally?
This internship allowed me to grow personally by giving me the ability to be dedicated to a specific project. Instead of having to balance classes and other projects, this internship allowed me to commit myself to a project and be able to test my own abilities.
What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?
I fell in love with Wade Oval Circle over the course of this internship. During lunch breaks, I would enjoy a cheap hotdog from the cart and sit on a bench in the shade of a tree while chatting with strangers who would sit next to me.
Where would you take a friend who is visiting Cleveland for the first time?
I would take my friend to The Flats. It is the best place to expose them to the revitalization of Cleveland and it is filled with plenty of fun spots.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
My advice would be to not treat it as just having an internship to put on future resumes, but instead to look at it as the start of your career. Take the most from all the different opportunities that this internship program has to offer.