Hometown Intern – Hannah Miller

Name: Hannah Miller
Hometown: Shickley
Affiliated Fund: Shickley Community Foundation
School: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

What’s it like to return to your community after being away for a while?
Prior to leaving for college, I felt equipped with the proper tools to make a positive impact in other places beside my hometown. Coming back to my community, I have learned to look at my small town with a different perspective. I am grateful to come from a place that supports people that are in different stages of life. I have noticed that younger and older generations collaborate together to accomplish tasks. Even after I came back home for the summer, people were still interested in hearing about my experiences. Over time I have developed a sense of gratitude for growing up in a supportive community

What are some of your hometown’s greatest assets?
Even in a town of a little over 300 people, there are many great assets. The 50 Flags Veterans Memorial is an astonishing sight that highlights veterans and their service. There are also the two murals on the side of main street; one encompasses different things associated with veterans, and the other celebrates Shickley’s history. Recently, the Westside Park was renovated to update the 40-year-old playground equipment. Throughout the park there is also a nine-hole disk golf course. These are just a few of the attractions that Shickley has to offer. Ultimately, all of these assets have found a way to bring family and friends together so they can appreciate what our town has to offer

What about the NCF Internship experience stands out to you so far? Why?
The NCF Hometown Internship program has allowed me to connect with a knowledgeable group of people. I have been able to meet other Hometown Interns that are willing to share their creative ideas. It is cool to see other people my age give back to their community. The NCF staff wants to see everyone highlight the assets of their town, and they are helping me look at my town through a positive lens.

Everyone has gifts and talents to share. What do you hope to share with your hometown this summer?
I have always enjoyed stepping into leadership positions throughout activities and other organizations within my community. Serving as a NCF Hometown Intern for the Shickley Community Foundation Fund is one way that I am able to give back to my community. I enjoy collaborating with a variety of local clubs/organizations. Even the “small tasks” do not go unnoticed by people within the town. Working alongside the other Shickley Hometown Intern, Mariah Sliva, has been a great experience. Mariah and I went to school together, so working together as Hometown Interns has been a full-circle moment! We hope to continue to highlight our town’s assets and make people feel ecstatic about what Shickley has to offer.

What should older adults know about your generation of Nebraskans?
One thing that I have learned about the people of Nebraska is that they have a strong sense of community. Young people want to get involved if they know the organization they can contribute to. The younger generation of people are willing to give back if you ask. Two words I would use to describe the people of my generation are creative and curious. Many younger Nebraskans want to see their local communities thrive. I have noticed that many young individuals become entrepreneurs within their community so they can build a foundation for their future.

What makes you feel most attached to your hometown?
One reason that I feel attached to my hometown is that everyone knows everyone by their name. Growing up in a rural community I was involved in practically everything that my school and community offered. Homeowners and business owners have always been willing to support the youth in any way that they are asked. Because of this I was able to form meaningful connections with an array of people. My family’s ties to the town of Shickley have created a constant sense of belonging. I was able to walk the same school hallways as my dad. Looking back, I am happy to call Shickley my hometown.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future of your community?
I hope that Shickley’s assets will continue to draw people into the welcoming community. A lively main street and recent subdivision area for housing keep people interested in the town of Shickley. It is promising that families continue to find a way back to their local hometown. A multitude of people and businesses support the youth in an array of activities, clubs, etc. The overall upkeep of the town is maintained because of dedicated individuals that invest their time. I envision that the goals of my community will continue to be achieved in the future.

What are you looking for in a place to call home?
When thinking about the characteristics of a place to call home, I think about the people that I will be surrounded by. Rather than thinking about a specific location, other things to consider include the town’s culture, youth engagement, and educational opportunities. The community of Shickley is a great example of what it means to bring people together. I appreciate how everyone is willing to collaborate and help their neighbor. I am intrigued by how dedicated people are to making Shickley a welcoming place.

If you were designing a future for yourself in Greater Nebraska, what would that look like?
I enjoy staying active in my local community and surrounding area. Over the years I have enjoyed making connections. Currently, I am pursuing a degree in Elementary & Special Education. My goal is to teach within the general education classroom in a rural community. I want to continue to serve as a positive role model for the youth. Being surrounded by other future leaders ignites a fire in me to continue to do the same. I value building relationships with the people around me. Living in greater Nebraska is the best place to be!

What’s a piece of advice you have for older generations of Nebraskans?
The history that older generations have to share is very valuable. I hope those individuals know that younger generations hope to live up to those memorable events. Older generations built a foundation that younger generations are trying to perfect. Within rural Nebraska there are so many areas that can be explored. I encourage older generations to continue to adapt to the economic advancements that are being made. Even in the town of Shickley, the population may be small, but the people are still making a big impact. Shickley’s slogan, “A Big Little Town,” is a great example of how special it is to live in a rural community. When people take the time to enjoy the things around them, it builds a deeper appreciation for their community.

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