As summer fades into fall, it is time to bid a fond farewell to our summer interns. We have enjoyed working with Thea Crowley and Cassie Huvler, and it is with great joy that we see them move ahead in the world, although we will miss their friendly faces at our office.
Thea, a student at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, is pursuing a double major in Environmental Studies and Sociology/Anthropology. During her internship, she worked diligently on community organizing issues, paying particular attention to the proposed dam at North Lake Park, never hesitating to seek answers for the community.
Cassie is an Education major at The Ohio State University, and enjoyed working with students at the Blust Avenue Teaching Garden and the ROAR program. She built a strong rapport with the students, wrote lesson plans, and even planned Camp ROAR, a camping trip into the Mohican forest.
Both interns have been invaluable assets to the staff, the students and elders from our programs, and the community as a whole.
Each of them took time to leave a testimonial regarding their work here at NECIC. We wish them all the best, and look forward to working with these talented young ladies in the future!
On a Friday afternoon, Deanna West-Torrence catches me as I make my way out the door of The North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC). “What have you learned?” she asks me.
So, I tell her what I have done in the Blust Avenue Teaching Garden that day with the children from Culliver Reading Center. I let her know what musician I have booked for the North End Farmers’ Market the following Wednesday. I tell her that Nyshia Brooks taught me how to become more involved within the community by knowing where to find and utilize certain resources. Nyasha Oden gave me information about modules, like “Slay the Summer”, for the students participating in the ROAR mentoring program.
I have learned so much as an intern this summer, but it is hard to explain it all. What I want to tell Deanna is that, more than anything, I have learned that there are people in Mansfield, Ohio who are unwilling to give up on this city. They are a dedicated group of people striving to better their community by actively seeking out the assets of the residents of this area.
If the North End were a bicycle wheel, NECIC would be its hub. The spokes represent each asset and member of the community. NECIC’s job does not end when each spoke meets the hub. Instead the job, circular and rotating as the analogy suggests, is for each spoke to meet one another. In this way, the people of the North End can combine their assets to build a more unified and stronger community. This is the place where change will begin, and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to know that this type of work is happening within Mansfield.
Having been a resident of Mansfield for my entire life, I thought I had a complete understanding of how the city works and maintains itself. However, working with NECIC really opened my eyes to the intricacies of Mansfield.
My coworkers were very supportive ,and it helped me to gain confidence in my ideas. Over the summer, I was able to learn about all portions of NECIC’s mission. I worked with youth in the Blust Avenue Teaching Garden and in ROAR modules. I learned about Economic Vitality through many lenses, whether it was measuring potential economic benefits with the Upper Touby Dam, or helping vendors from the North End at the farmer’s market. I participated in community and civic engagement through the Citizen Action meetings and through events like Safe Summer Fridays.
Citizen Action has been my favorite because it is very satisfying to help give residents a platform to voice concerns and to help find connections among the residents, the institutions, and the associations of not only the North End but the city as a whole.