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 JD Smith, who is working with Slavic Village Development Corporation, where he facilitates a “Village Market,” bringing together local makers, and connects home-based businesses with local resources and training opportunities.
College: Wittenberg University
Hometown: North Olmsted, Ohio
Internship Host Site: Slavic Village Development
How did you first hear about the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program?
I had some friends who had applied to the internship in the past, and I knew I wanted to find an internship at a Cleveland CDC.
What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
One of my main tasks at Slavic Village Development is to help coordinate the Village Market, our weekly farmer’s market. Planning community-building events like the market, as well as helping to put together other events, is a rewarding process.
Also, I got to paint the Village Stage (pictured), a shipping container-turned-stage at our market site, with some of my co-workers. I’m very proud of how it came out!
What are your career goals after college?
I know that I want to work in community or economic development in some capacity, ideally a CDC or similar organization somewhere in Ohio, if not here in Cleveland.
How has this internship helped you grow professionally?
This internship has given me plenty of opportunities to grow my network and my talents. Slavic Village Development gives me independent projects that allow me to develop new skills as well as expand on old ones. It also has exposed me to the fast-paced world of community development.
How has this internship helped you grow personally?
This internship has helped me develop my communication and organizational skills. I’ve gotten so much better at planning my weeks and prioritizing tasks.
Where would you take a friend who is visiting Cleveland for the first time?
I actually had the opportunity to show a friend around Cleveland for the first time a couple of weeks ago! We started at the Westside Market, swung over to Great Lakes Brewery, and then used the bike-share to cross the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge into downtown. We checked out Mall C, Tower City, and took the rapid over to University Circle for the Cleveland Museum of Art and to walk around the neighborhood. There’s too much to see to cram it in one day!
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
I’d tell them to do it, and just go for it! It’s a lot of fun and a great opportunity!