For the fifth consecutive year, Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF) is proud to announce a new class of Hometown Interns who will continue the program’s now firmly established success.
This summer’s group of interns includes 21 college students serving NCF affiliated funds in 15 different Nebraska communities, including Arthur, Deshler, Diller, Exeter, Friend, Garfield County, Hebron, Hickman, Howells, Leigh, McCook, Red Cloud, Rock County, Shickley and Wauneta. Four interns return from last year, among them Rachel Orth of Keith County, who will once again serve as hometown intern coordinator.
“A common phrase I hear from rural community residents is that ‘there is a lot here, you just have to look,’ or ‘it’s not the place, it’s the people,’” Orth said. “Prior to this internship, I brushed these sayings off, but because of this experience, every place I visit isn’t just some other town, and every conversation I have with others isn’t just about pleasantries and small talk, but instead they are a treasure trove for goodness and individuality. Through my work as the hometown intern coordinator, I want to help others realize, and be courageous in sharing, Nebraska’s hidden gems.”
Hometown Internships are helping young people and affiliated funds discover the abundance of their communities. Interns are brought right into the action, helping their places map assets and plan for the future. For many students, the experience led to the realization that they can do the work they love in the places they call home, with many saying they see their communities in a new light. At least nine previous interns have returned to Greater Nebraska after graduation to pursue a future in the places they love.
Emily Morrow credits her internship with reinforcing her inclination to return home. Through her experience working with O’Neill Community Foundation Fund, she discovered that her impact in Holt County would be more tangible than if she applied her talents in a larger community like Lincoln, Omaha, or beyond. She now works as West Holt Medical Services’ Marketing Director
“My internship solidified my purpose in coming back,” Morrow said. “I’m very excited. I just got a house in O’Neill. I want to plant my roots and I’m not afraid to say it.”
Hometown Interns work with local NCF affiliated funds on a variety of projects tailored to their community and the interests and skillsets of the interns. While the specific tasks and projects will vary from one Hometown Internship to another, NCF will provide numerous opportunities for interns to connect throughout the summer to give them space to learn from each other, share ideas and foster appreciation for their hometowns while contributing to community development efforts at the local and statewide level.
“Hometown Internships are intended to connect young adults with the goodness and abundance that exists in their hometown,” said NCF President and CEO Jeff Yost. “Their work is to discover, through conversations and relationship building, all of the assets, skills and talents in their homeplace and begin to help other community members appreciate this abundance and use it to build communities of choice for every generation.”
The 2023 NCF Hometown Interns are (asterisks indicate a returning intern):
Lauren Behn, Thayer County Health Services Foundation Fund
Cameryn Brandt, Friend Area Fund
Jillian Buell, Rock County Community Fund
Michaela Dukes, Wauneta Community Fund
Allison Engelman, Diller Community Foundation Fund
Hannah Goltl, McCook Community Foundation Fund
Jillian Grovijohn*, Howells Community Fund
Chloe Hintz*, Hebron Community Fund
Takaylynn Hergott, Hebron Community Fund
Cassidy Hoffman, Leigh Legacy Fund
Kerigan Karr, Red Cloud Community Fund
Kalli Kroeker, Hickman Area Community Foundation Fund
Paiton Nash, Deshler Community Fund
Rachel Orth*, Hometown Intern Coordinator
Sam Otte, Exeter Area Community Foundation Fund
Trinity Schardt, Thayer County Health Services Foundation Fund
Jenna Schott, Calamus Area Community Fund
Jadyn Schultis*, Diller Community Foundation Fund
Mariah Sliva, Shickley Community Foundation Fund
Aleah Williams, Red Cloud Community Fund
Gracie Wenzel, Arthur Area Community Foundation Fund