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Hometown internship experience

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 12:52 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Dakota Cherney is excited about his summer internship with the Nebraska Community Foundation. The internship fits his interests, because he certainly cares about hometowns.

Cherney recently wrote and article in the local Hebron newspaper, encouraging local leaders to think about asking young people to come back. “Reach out and specifically tell the youth in your area and your school system you want them back here, and that each and every one of them is valued,” Cherney said.

It’s that kind of passion for greater Nebraska that caught the eye of the Hebron Community Foundation Fund. Rita Luongo is the chairperson of the fund. “Even though we’ve done a lot of great things, our story really wasn’t out there,” Luongo said. The fund is using Cherney’s skills to help them tell their story. Committee members are benefitting from his knowledge of social media and journalism, to help them get the word out. “His biggest fear, I think, is that when he’s gone, everything he’s worked on will be forgotten,” Luongo joked. “So, he’s trying to teach us how we can do updates online, and on our Facebook page, so we can keep connected to not just our donors of today, but our donors of tomorrow.

NCF says Cherney will also work with the Hebron fund to coordinate the creation of a comprehensive civic inventory exploring community engagement. “I’m currently a sophomore at Kansas State University,” Cherney said. “I’m doing a lot of journalism over there, so being able to run (the Hebron fund’s) social media, work on their brochures, and write articles for the paper, it’s just right up my alley. It’s just exactly what I want to be doing with my summer.”

The Hebron Community Foundation Fund is making a difference, by making improvements to the local walking trail. “We also did a lot of work updating our playground equipment in Hebron,” Luongo said. “We are very involved with the school, so there are many programs in the school throughout the year.”

For Cherney, seeing all of this first-hand is helping him craft his future. “Before I even started this internship, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life,” Cherney said. “I will say this internship has helped narrow that down a little bit. I’m thinking about going into maybe community outreach or public relations. That’s exactly what this internship has showed me, and I really appreciate it.”

Learning through action is what this NCF internship is all about. And for Cherney, the future is looking quite bright.

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