Neighborhood Progress, Inc. looks to build community development capacity by providing various internship positions and hosting Americorps VISTAs. Neighborhood Progress had the pleasure of hosting three interns this past summer: Adam, Chris and Tim.
Adam Kanter is a Cleveland native from Shaker Heights, pursing a degree in Political Science at Emory University located in Atlanta, Georgia. Adam’s reason for joining Neighborhood Progress was his very strong connection to Cleveland. “I jumped on the opportunity to help the city and its people in any way I could,” Adam finishes.
While at Neighborhood Progress, Adam preformed a wide range of tasks, including working with data from the NEO CANDO Neighborhood Stabilization web application as well as compiling and organizing information for New Village Capital’s development projects.
Christopher Slijk was born in Cleveland and left for Southern California as a young kid, but returns via the Summer on the Cuyahoga program. At Neighborhood Progress, Chris worked for Village Capital Corporation researching areas to expand lending and community development efforts beyond Cleveland into the neighboring suburbs. Chris returns to Cornell University to finish his degree in economics. Chris was fascinated with the wide range of projects Neighborhood Progress takes on. Chris continued, “It really gave me a chance to see how multifaceted urban development can be.”
Tim Martin, a Case Western University student double majoring in economics and biomechanical engineering researched and gathered data on asset creation and wealth building for Neighborhood Progress. Tim’s report investigated and assessed various asset building programs including: financial literacy education, micro financing, and retirement savings.
Neighborhood Progress knows these relationships are mutually beneficial–we can build our internal capacity while also providing a great opportunity to grow professionally and to network with others in the community development field. Because of this, Neighborhood Progress has seen its interns and VISTAs find success after their scheduled time with Neighborhood Progress.
Neighborhood Progress’s recent VISTA, Stephen Love, is now an Information and Research Specialist at the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. He conducts internal research for property management, property acquisitions, and demolitions. Neighborhood-based projects such as community gardens, assisting stakeholders, and data management are his other responsibilities. Stephen’s experience at Neighborhood Progress gave him a county-wide perspective on the issues community and economic development organizations address. The position gave him organization management exposure and an opportunity to work with people with various views, as well as familiarize himself with data and research tools. Stephen continued, “Had I not worked at Neighborhood Progress, I would not work where I do now.” It was an experience he would not trade.
Stephen is not the only VISTA who has found success after working at Neighborhood Progress. Erika Mecshkat worked with the ReImagining Cleveland program, creating the grant application for the program, co-managing a federal grant budget, and training numerous people on the NEO CANDO web application. Neighborhood Progress was “probably the best learning experience” she has had. Erika has returned to the Ohio State University’s extension office working as a Program Coordinator for Community Development. She helps head an initiative with the Sisters of Charity Foundation, creating the Healthy Eating and Active Living Initiative (HEAL) in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood.