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Nineteen college students are working in their hometowns to further the work of local Nebraska Community Foundation affiliated funds. It’s all part of the 2021 NCF Hometown Interns program.
“I came from a very small town,” Amber Cherney said. “I’m working with another very small town, and I really have a passion for the rural areas.” Cherney is a hometown intern from Cuba, Kansas. She will be helping the Chester Community Fund. “With it being such a small town with multiple organizations, there is some confusion over who does what, so I’m creating marketing materials and expanding our contact list”, Cherney said. That’s just part of Amber’s duties as a hometown intern for Chester. Connor Rosfeld will be supporting his hometown of Callaway. “My current project is creating a database to try and connect with alumni and people outside of town,” Rosfeld said. “We want to bring them back and raise funding for the community, so that we can make it a better place.”
NCF expanded it’s summer interns program after the success of it in 2020. This program helps young people feel more connected to their hometowns. “Inviting young people to have conversations, and have them in the know about important decisions, will help inspire them to continue that in the future,” intern Rachel Orth said. Orth is from Ogallala. She’s excited to be working with the Keith County Foundation Fund this summer. “Not only was it a paid opportunity, it was a chance to stay at home. A lot of internships have you going somewhere that is unfamiliar to you, and or maybe you are staying in a bigger town. But I really love that I was able to go back to my hometown with people that I know, and help make it a better place.”
Staying home doesn’t mean these interns won’t be challenged. Many of them will have a full plate of work to accomplish. “I am helping us design a new web page for the Diller Community Foundation Fund, as well as creating a bigger presence on social media such as Facebook,” intern Hayley Denner said. “I am also going through all of our youth survey results so I can present them to other organizations within the community and other organizations within our county and state.”
Luke Partsch is interning in his hometown of Nebraska City. “I’m working with the Dream Switch project primarily, about what this means and where you belong,” Partsch said. “I’m working with an arts inventory, and trying to do an asset inventory, to capitalize on what we already have.”
The tasks among each intern will vary, but perhaps the main goal remains the same. And that is to give young people a chance to consider a life where they grew up. “What really made this interesting for me was the ability to give back to my hometown,” Rosfeld said. “They’ve given me so much through sports and high school, all of the amazing people, I feel like it’s my obligation to give back as much as I can.”