Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series follows this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns and Porter Cleveland Fellows as they reflect on 11 weeks spent working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog, we hear from Malavika Khaitan, who spent her summer at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
Name: Malavika Khaitan
College: Wheaton College
Hometown: Chandigarh, India
Internship Host Site: Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?
I was interested in the program as I knew that it would give me an opportunity to create a significant impact in people’s lives, and knowing that I helped someone gives me a sense of satisfaction. Legal Aid’s mission to obtain justice and address basic problems for low-income people by providing high-quality legal services and advocating for systemic change resonated with me, as much of my past work has focused on providing programs and support to underserved communities and individuals to help them thrive.
What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
One of the most valuable aspects of my internship experience has been working at brief advice clinics and different outreach events. Listening to the people and the struggles that they have faced gave me an entirely new perspective on my life, and I felt very privileged to be living a peaceful life full of happiness.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
This is my first time in Cleveland! I have really enjoyed trying out new food and finding different places to eat. I have also loved walking in the West Side Market and looking for more delicious food!
How has this internship helped you grow professionally?
This internship has allowed me to engage in substantive work requiring problem solving, communicating with clients, and project management. Additionally, I have been able to explore a potential future in law, which has pushed me towards seriously considering law school.
How has this internship helped you grow personally?
This internship has taught me to believe in myself. Initially, I did not think that I would be selected for this program. After getting the position, I started having more faith in myself. During the internship, while working on different projects, I was always seeking validation as I was not sure of myself. Later, I realized that I should not have been afraid to make mistakes as we only learn from them.
What is your favorite public space in Cleveland?
I have fallen in love with the open area that is right below my apartment and, in particular, a new dessert cafe that has just opened, called “The Sweet Spot”!
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program?
I would tell them not to think too much! If they are interested, then they should apply as it is a great opportunity to discover yourself and your future.