On the wall
A View from Hope Reichbach Memorial Fund Intern
Post date: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 13:07
As the summer draws to a close, so too does my summer internship at Groundswell. Over the past eleven weeks, I have been privileged with the opportunity to work in the Communications and Development Department as the Marketing Intern. This is my second summer in the studio office, after having worked on two murals during the 2010-11 school year. After a long freshman year at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota, I was thrilled to come back to Groundswell, which I had dearly missed almost as much as the rest of New York City combined.
I came to Groundswell this summer as a recipient of the Hope Reichbach Memorial Fund scholarship. The Hope Fund was founded in memory of Hope Reichbach, who was Communications Director for Councilmember Steve Levin at the time of her death. In the twenty-two years she was alive, Hope established herself as a true model of inspiration for Brooklyn, and her passion for revitalizing the borough lives on through the Fund. In this, its first year, the Hope Fund provided five college students with leadership training and a paid internship at a Brooklyn-based nonprofit.
It was important for me to not divorce what I learned at the Hope Fund from what I learned at Groundswell. Instead, I let my introspection about Hope’s transformative spirit be the keystone of my summer experience, acting as a lens to all the amazing things I was doing at Groundswell. How I did this was by emphasizing improvement in how to talk about things I care about and, just as importantly, how to make people listen. Hope had the ability to touch people and inspire change with just her words, and I wanted to emulate that presence to spread the message about Groundswell’s undertakings to stakeholders like you.
Lucky for my development, there was certainly a lot to talk about. I watched the Summer Leadership Institute 2012 cycle start and close. Seven projects; seven neighborhoods; fourteen artists; upwards of a hundred youth; and thousands of hours of research, design, and painting: these numbers just scrape the surface of the story of SLI 2012. Groundswell’s impact on communities is at the heart of SLI 2012, and what draws me in as an activist passionate about city youth. At Groundswell, progressive, inclusive, and creative measures are used to inspire hard-to-reach youth, teach them about critical issues affecting them, and let them be a part of the change happening in their own communities. As someone who came from these programs, I know firsthand how valuable these experiences are, and I am honored to be a part of making them happen.
In addition to the creation of seven murals, there was the relaunch of Groundswell’s website, which would present the expansive history of Groundswell like it has never been seen before. These two separate yet intertwined events would have me thinking critically about how to present the fondness I privately have for Groundswell into a more professional form.
Under Groundswell’s guidance, I presented the organization’s message to a wide and varied audience. Among my many tasks over the course of my internship, I worked on the website writing descriptions, researching fun facts, and curating pictures for older Groundswell projects. I formatted flyers for the twenty-two events we had for the seven murals plus the Youth Media Council. I reached out to press. I presented "Truth Be Sold" to my fellow Hope Fund interns at a bus tour (shown in the picture). I worked on several projects for Groundswell’s upcoming Art Auction Benefit, which will allow Groundswell to continue its mission for yet another year.
Having completed a laundry list of tasks and projects, I can say for certain that I have learned so much. I feel more confident in my writing and in my ability to represent something that I believe in. Seeing that I want to establish my future career in nonprofit work, the skills I developed during this past summer will be instrumental for my future success. Just as your engagement in Groundswell impacts the youth we serve, I want to be a part of the change in communities I live in and care about.
I will be leaving for Minnesota soon. I will leave an internship that I love and the people who made it special. But as I pack my luggage and say farewell until my next break, I do so knowing that Groundswell will never leave me and that I can’t wait to see how Groundswell thrives while I am gone.
Major in English Literature; and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
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