The past three weeks have been filled with a constant flow of inspiring moments. Every professional development seminar has left me feeling energized and excited for the future of Cleveland. I’ve listened to speeches, had conversations, and read articles that have left my mind reeling with new ideas and more importantly new perspectives about the revitalization of Cleveland. In this post I would like to highlight one seminar: meeting with Tom O’Brien from Neighborhood Connections.
During Tom’s seminar I felt like I was in anthropologist heaven. He talked about the need to not just focus on systems and services but on connecting people and utilizing those connections to lift up the community. I was really inspired by Neighborhood Connections’ grassroots approach to instigating change. I was even more thrilled to learn about the two different approaches that can be taken. One approach focused on the needs of a community which can be solved via the creation of programs and another focused on the assets of a community which connects people with different skills and talents in order to help each other in many different ways. It was awesome and refreshing to have people who are already working and involved in Cleveland’s non-profit sector take such a holistic view and approach to changing the community.
As time has passed I am more confident in my project, my role as an intern, and myself in general. It has only been three weeks but I am incredibly satisfied with my decision to try to pursue a career in the non-profit sector. My internship coach Walter Wright told me in our first meeting that I’ll know I’m in the right place when the people around me feel like my tribe. While it may be a little early to have a true sense of belonging here I will say that I have been inspired or influenced by at least one person every day I’ve experienced as a part of this program. I leave our seminars feeling extremely motivated, ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead. People I meet around the office are filled with insights and a desire to help. Finally, I am constantly in awe of the other members of my cohort; everyone is incredibly intelligent, accomplished, and set to do amazing things this summer. Each week I have become more and more convinced that I made the right choice in applying for and entering this program. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the summer has to offer me in terms of learning, opportunity, and fun!
Hannah Vaughn, a senior at Ohio University, majoring in Anthropology and Spanish, is placed at the Cleveland Foundation. Hannah assists the Program Director for Architecture, Urban Design and Sustainable Development with the Revitalization Trend Mapping Project for Cleveland: provides research and mapping assistance; manages an 8-10 person advisory committee to oversee the project, and assists with management of the consultant team delivering the trend mapping & civic technologies project.