The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) offers internships to eager and driven young individuals to share industry and community-based information and to help them jumpstart their careers. OLCDC internships offer employment training and experiential learning opportunities that enhance professional qualities and soft skills, such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.
April is National Internship Awareness Month, so we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate Nicolas Zamora, our first Advocacy and Policy intern. Nick, originally from Miami, is a sophomore at Oberlin College where he is a Bonner Scholar and an active community member.
We asked him about his experience working with OLCDC. Check out our interview with him below.
What was it like growing up in Miami?
It was very entertaining! My childhood didn’t have too many dull moments– even if I was simply at a park with my sisters or going to a community-sponsored event. There was always something to do in this lively and hot city. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, I appreciate the diversity of people here. I never felt alone due to my race or ethnicity and always had a sense of belonging wherever I went.
What’s your favorite thing about Miami?
It would have to be the beach and food. I know those are basic answers, but when I moved to Cleveland for school, I realized the closest thing they have to a beach is a lake. I also never considered how Miami is a big city for food imports with a diverse population and many different cultures and food types. In Ohio, I couldn’t even find a mango and was shocked. When I came back home, I first went to the beach and during my stay, I reflected and realized how much I took those things for granted.
What are you studying at Oberlin College? How did you decide on that field of study?
I’m studying political science because I didn’t realize the inequities and lack of resources my high school and its community faced until junior year. I went to a primarily Black high school and just ten minutes down the road in another town, schools had more funding and were allocated more up-to-date resources. Studying politics and wanting to be involved in that realm of life when I grow up gives me access to change current policies that perpetuate injustice.
Tell us about your volunteer experience. What has been your favorite experience so far and why?
I have been very active in my local communities since high school. I was in an organization called Key Club, which performed acts of community service for underprivileged folks. That’s how I discovered my passion for service and continued it in Oberlin where I am a Bonner Scholar (a program for students who have the drive to serve their local community). In Oberlin, I tutor children in elementary school at the Boys and Girls Club and teach Beginner’s Spanish to senior citizens at the local retirement home. I really enjoy tutoring children and helping run educational programs because children have so much enthusiasm and a drive to learn that it doesn’t feel like a job.
Are you working on any exciting projects for OLCDC?
I’m working with Kiera O’Rourke, the Advocacy and Policy Director, to create a series of in-person advocacy workshops for Opa-Locka community members. I’ve been researching how people can advocate for themselves, specifically regarding flooding issues within Miami-Dade County, and I plan on creating resources with the information I’ve gathered.
When you’re not busy with school or your internship, how do you like to spend your time?
I love to go to the beach and (safely!!) hang out with my friends. My friend and I recently started reading a book together so we’re going to have mini book club meetings. Beyond that, I love to roller skate and run in my free time, as it’s one of the most freeing experiences
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next ten years?
I imagine myself living in an apartment in (hopefully) New York City or a very metropolitan area. I’ve always enjoyed the loudness of cities and the endless opportunities of adventure. I hope to have completed graduate school by then and to be working directly with the community I’m in.
What inspires you?
I’ve always wanted to be my best self and I think that inspires me– knowing I can be better and can push myself further to test my limits and expand my mindset.
What’s one thing you want the Opa-locka community to know about you?
Although I’m just an intern, I’m working alongside a team that wants to serve you all and make Opa-Locka the best it can be. I have a lot of drive in me and will use that to help this community grow.