Hometown Intern – Mariah Sliva

Name: Mariah Sliva
Hometown: Shickley, NE
Affiliated Fund: Shickley Community Foundation
School: Doane University

Why did you want to return for another summer as a Hometown Intern?
I really enjoyed getting to see my community from a different lens last year. Working alongside the Shickley Community Foundation, I got to see how leaders in my hometown come together to make Shickley a great place to live. I want to be able to do the same for my community when I get older, and being a Hometown Intern is a great opportunity for me to learn more about these processes and make an impact in the place that raised me.

What did you learn about yourself and your community during your internship last summer?
During my first year as a Hometown Intern, I got to learn a lot about the history of our town and what role the Shickley Community Foundation Fund had in making it the place it is today. The people here in Shickley go above and beyond to accomplish their goals to build a greater community. With everyone working together, they are what make Shickley a “Big Little Town” that has so much to offer.

How will you your past internship experience inform your work this summer?
Last summer I learned a lot about Asset-Based Community Development and what this can look like for my hometown. I hope to use this knowledge to help me continue to shine a light on all the amenities that Shickley has to offer. I also am looking forward to working with the Shickley Community Foundation Fund to find ways to give back to the community, share our story with others, and celebrate my hometown.

Everyone has gifts and talents to share. What do you hope to share with your hometown this summer?
Already having some experience with the concepts and ideas that we use in this internship, I am hoping to expand on what I was able to accomplish last year. I think me and Hannah Miller, another Hometown Intern for Shickley, will be a great team this summer. We are both ambitious and ready to share our knowledge with the community. We’ve already been off to a great start here in Shickley and I know we will have a great year!

What should older adults know about your generation of Nebraskans?
Being a young adult, there are times when it can feel intimidating to jump into a leadership role in the community. Many people my age are looking for ways to get involved, but they may not know what steps to take. Extending invitations and embracing new ideas are the best ways to help encourage others to get active in your community.

What makes you feel most attached to your hometown?
I think the people here are what make me feel the most connected. Coming from a smaller community, you appreciate all the acts of service that people do to help the community thrive. It seems that everyone plays a role in making Shickley a great place to be. They make the community so welcoming, and I am beyond grateful to call this place home.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future of your community?
In my community, I can see there’s a lot of pride and connectedness throughout our groups. The people here are full of ambition and no dream is too big for them to chase. I hope to see all their ideas and goals come to life as they continue to work together to develop our town. Shickley flourishes off the drive and tenacity of its volunteers, and I know this Big Little Town has nothing but growth in store.

What are you looking for in a place to call home?
Home to me cannot be described as a location. Instead, I believe that the character and spirit of the people you are surrounded by are what make a community a great place to live. The service, determination, and togetherness that I have seen in my own hometown has taught me so much about what to look for in a place to call home. Communities that are welcoming and strong-willed are the places I am most attracted to.

If you were designing a future for yourself in Greater Nebraska, what would that look like?
I see myself being an active member of the community and I am hoping to find others who feel the same. I enjoy being in a place where people feel connected and inspire each other to accomplish more. My plan is to become a high school teacher, and I also want to encourage the younger generations to become involved in their school and community. I hope to be a role model for future generations of leaders and show them how to be courageous and ambitious.

What’s a piece of advice you have for older generations of Nebraskans?
My advice to others is take time to appreciate your surroundings. When you live in the same place for a while, you can get used to a lot of things and take them for granted. Don’t forget to take an extra moment to take in the world around you. Whether it’s nature, the people, or anything else that makes your community special, there’s always something to be grateful for. If you take a closer look, you will find beauty in the small things.  

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