Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Marijose Vilá ’13

Marijose Vilá says she couldn’t ask for more from her summer. The rising senior, awarded a Porter Cleveland Fellowship from Wheaton, has been working as an intern at two Cleveland nonprofits through the Cleveland Foundation. In this excerpt from a blog post on the foundation’s website, Vilá reflects on her summer in the city.

My experiences … have provided me with a fresh new insight into community development and the nonprofit world. Participating in the program has allowed me to better understand the needs of Cleveland’s community and the existing projects and organizations that address them.

This morning I was invited to attend a meeting to review the grant applications that organizations submitted to the Cleveland Foundation and understand the criteria behind their decision-making. Knowing that in the future I will continue working in the nonprofit sector, reviewing grant proposals was very insightful!

At Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services, I teach classes in time management, computer science, and English as a second language. I translate legal documents to Spanish for the immigration attorney, or help set up apartments for new families to move in. Refugee Day (June 20) was an opportunity to taste delicious Nepalese food and dance along to the beats of African drums. Interacting with the refugees outside a formal setting allowed me to get to know them better and also to hear about the different ways they are integrating into Cleveland’s community.

Part of my job at Esperanza Threads [a nonprofit company that employs and trains low-income people] is working every Saturday at the Shaker Square Market selling organic clothing and apparel! I enjoy walking around and experiencing all the different smells, tastes and colors that the market has to offer. Farmers, sellers, and clients come from all over Cleveland to this market, and a strong sense of community is felt. What else can I ask out of this summer?

Read the full blog post here.