Hometown Intern – Chloe Higgins

Name: Chloe Higgins
Hometown: Nebraska City
College: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Hometown Intern Coordinator

Why were you interested in this internship opportunity?
My initial interest in this internship began during my freshman year of college when I contacted NCF to see if they would allow me to job shadow their work. That initial contact turned into a full-time summer internship for 2019, where I was the “guinea pig” hometown intern. This summer, I was asked to return as the Hometown Intern Coordinator to serve as a mentor and facilitator for the other twelve interns. This allowed me to return to work that I love and reach even more communities while building relationships with interns that share my passion.

What projects are you working on this summer for your affiliated fund?
As the Hometown Intern Coordinator, I help guide the other interns through their projects rather than working on my own project. Each week, I host a meeting for the interns with topics ranging from CliftonStrengths and Wellbeing to communications to intercultural development and everything in between. I meet individually with interns to provide guidance on their projects and connect them to relevant resources. Ultimately, my goal for this summer is to create community between these twelve interns who are each individually passionate about building community.

What do you appreciate most about your hometown?
My hometown is filled with people who appreciate the town’s origins. Nebraska City was the home of J. Sterling Morton when he founded Arbor Day, is one of the oldest towns in the state, and is even the location of part of the Underground Railroad. Each Nebraska Citian is knowledgeable and appreciative of this rich history, and we celebrate this history through festivals, education, and preservation. Even if young people do not intend to remain in this town, they can still appreciate our common story and hold pride in the small-town feeling of Nebraska City.

How does it feel to be able to give back to your community?
I often repeat the cliché that “it takes a village to raise a child.” For me, this statement is true. When my family went through an especially hard time several years ago, the entire community seemingly wrapped its arms around us and supported us. Over the last twenty years of my life, I have been the recipient of constant investment, support, and love from my community. There is no way I would have made it to where I am now without Nebraska City, so it means the world that I can pour that same investment and love back into my hometown.

What excites you the most when you think about the future of your community?
Nebraska City, like every community, has its flaws. In recent years, our community has become more conscious of our shortcomings, more willing to face challenges head-on, and more confident in creating practical solutions towards a better future. Thinking about the future of Nebraska City energizes me because I know it will become a place where every resident is passionate, engaged, and has a seat at the table. The future of Nebraska City means that every person will feel like this is the place where they belong, and that potential is what inspires me to continue giving back.

What characteristics do you look for in a place to call home? Why?
My career aspirations are in rural economic development, so I will likely live in a rural community. In this home, I am first looking for a place of connections and engagement. Third places are the critical space between work and home where we build relationships and become a part of our community, and I want a home filled with vibrant third places. I also want my home to be a place that is moving forward, a place that looks critically at its flaws and makes tangible changes to create a more hopeful future.

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