My name is Eric Hayes and I’m about to graduate from Cleveland State University with a Master’s in Social Work. For the last year, I have served as an intern at CMC.
Throughout the course of my internship, I have worked under the supervision of Program Manager, Mary Brotzki. My main responsibilities were two-fold: assisting in the Supportive Services for Veterans and Families (SSVF) program and exploring opportunities for new programming with schools.
In my work with the SSVF program, I served as a mediator between tenants and landlords in order to stop evictions and maintain housing for veterans. As part of this role, I was able to get training in fundamentals of mediation, family and divorce mediation, and domestic abuse issues through CMC. This training was an invaluable resource for anyone in human service jobs as it helped to hone communication and conflict resolution skills. Actually having the chance to mediate active cases gave me a hands-on opportunity to engage clients in conflict and come to a mutually respected resolution.
My work for CMC on expanded program opportunities included researching current resources in the Cleveland area for youth conflict resolution, current evidence-based practices for conflict resolution programming, and forging relationships with funders and community partners in order to work towards selecting a school-based intervention that was relevant for Cleveland’s current needs. I was able to meet with representatives from a variety of Cleveland schools, non-profits, faith-based organizations, and foundations before making a recommendation to CMC on how to proceed. I got to see what being an administrator in a non-profit looks like and to follow the process of program planning from the very start. I felt like a real part of the CMC team. I was trusted to make decisions for my project and to represent CMC in meetings and inter-agency communications.
My experience as an intern at CMC provided me with opportunities to make a difference for real people and do meaningful work for the organization and my community while learning. After graduation, I will transition from part-time to full-time at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland where I work as a Prevention Educator in a teen pregnancy and HIV prevention program. As I move forward with my education and career, I wish CMC all the best and am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing collection of individuals who are dedicated to their community. Cleveland is lucky to have such a resource at their disposal.