Summer Internship Series: Shoes and Clothes for Kids

Gena Banta-Long ’18

Shoes and Clothes for Kids, Cleveland, Ohio

My name is Gena and I’m a senior PPE major. This past summer I lived and worked in Cleveland as a Summer on the Cuyahoga intern with Shoes and Clothes for Kids. For the past 50 years, this nonprofit has been dedicated with providing free school uniforms and supplies to kids in need in the Cleveland area. It recently acquired another nonprofit that focuses on school supplies and helping out Cleveland teachers As a strong proponent of education, I was glad to have the opportunity to work with an amazing nonprofit.

Every day of my internship was different. Most days I directed and worked with volunteer groups, collaborated with others to reorganize our space to be more efficient, or participated in the organization’s special projects. I worked with volunteer groups to maximize our output as we had to a quota of uniforms to pack a day. I was able to polish my communication, organization and problem solving skills throughout my eight weeks.

My supervisor Monica was super funny, willing to work with me and helped me to succeed as an intern. I really appreciated her willingness to get to know me, hear me out when I was frustrated and worked with me to resolve the problems. She was a major part in making this internship manageable. I also had an amazing coworker, Kim, whose friendships and understanding really helped me to get through the summer.

After this summer, I realized that I won’t go into nonprofit work until later in my career. I do very greatly appreciate SOTC, especially Jean Koehler, and the Denison alumni network in supporting me throughout the summer.