Name: Dakota Cherney
Affiliated Fund: Hebron Community Foundation Fund
College: Kansas State University
Why were you interested in this internship opportunity?
I have always valued getting involved in my community. When this internship opportunity arose, I was so excited. In high school, I spent a lot of my extra time giving back to the community that has given me so much in my lifetime. I saw this internship as a way to continue.
What projects are you working on this summer for your affiliated fund?
I am working on social media brand awareness. I am trying to get our engagement rate up and keep it that way. I also have been working to have a new brochure designed for the Hebron Fund. Hebron has a deep history in the women’s suffrage movement, so I am also trying to spread awareness about this as well.
What do you appreciate most about your hometown?
I appreciate the fact that everyone knows each other. Moving off to college was difficult because Manhattan was much bigger than what I was used to, and I didn’t know anyone. In my community, no matter who you are or what you do, there’s always someone to help and support you. Also, I’ve never had to drive with stop lights before I left Chester/Hebron so I guess not having those in my hometown is another thing I appreciate!
How does it feel to be able to give back to your community?
I feel more accomplished than ever. A lot of times, my generation is looked down upon as the tide-pod eating, phone addicts. Being able to have my own office and do work that is benefitting Hebron and the surrounding area has been so rewarding. Who would have thought that a sophomore in college could have the opportunity to work full-time in their hometown while still doing something they loved? I sure didn’t! This opportunity, even with COVID-19, has opened so many doors. I never truly pictured myself moving back home until I started my work with NCF and the Hebron Community Fund.
What excites you the most when you think about the future of your community?
I am excited to see what my hometown looks like in three years when I graduate college. I think we have a lot of younger people moving to the area that are excited to get involved like me. We are building a new pool in Hebron and already have a lot of activities for people to do. There is a group that is working on revitalization of the downtown area and buildings. My dream is to move back home and start a marketing/videography business right in Hebron. My high school has and always be very important to me. I plan on keeping in touch with the students and letting them know that I can be a resource for them if they need me.
What characteristics do you look for in a place to call home? Why?
When I think of the word “home,” I think of a family. A place to call home would have to value caring for one another and welcoming strangers to their community. I want to move back to a place that I am invited to move back to. A place that I would call home would have to be willing to make changes and understand that the way things have always been doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option. Believe in the youth of your community. They are the future, the ones that are going to continue to help your hometown prosper. Put your trust in them, and they will return the favor, I PROMISE.