Spotlight: Tara Lea

Tara Lea is a FutureMaker who worked as an intern for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation this past summer. She is going into her third year at the University of Florida, where she is majoring in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences and has a minor in Nonprofit Organizational Leadership. Tara is receiving an education in this field because she has always had a passion for helping people and wants to be a positive changemaker in her community and beyond. Her drive for change in her community made her a great fit for the FutureMakers Coalition. She chose to work with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the FutureMakers Coalition because of her interest in the work they do in their community and their alignment with her studies at school and field of interest.

For students like Tara, internships are very valuable and educational experiences. Tara said that her time working with SWFCF and the FutureMakers Coalition has allowed her to recognize her career interests and confirmed her desire to work in the nonprofit sector after she graduates from UF. Most importantly, she said that this opportunity has gotten her very excited for her future! She thinks that employers should work to find ways to have interns now more than ever because it helps inform and prepare the future of the industry or organization with addressing hardships. During the COVID-19 pandemic, almost every organization has had to stray away from their regular routine. Interns at these organizations have seen firsthand how to properly respond to urgent scenarios and handle adjusting to the “new normal”, so they and the organization will be better equipped if a similar situation were to happen in the future.

Tara has worked very closely with the FutureMakers Coalition this summer and has helped maintain communication between team members, leaders, and partners throughout Southwest Florida. Tara has also helped FutureMakers with their new Equity work and is currently updating the website to portray the work of the Equity Action Team as well as a collection of Equity resources curated by a group of FutureMakers. Tara says that Southwest Florida needs FutureMakers now more than ever. Due to COVID-19, many people have lost their jobs, especially those without a college degree or other workforce credential. She says that she is proud to be part of such a dedicated initiative alongside hardworking individuals to help those who need it most when faced with such difficult times.