CCPA Summer Series 2017: Jared Turner '19 Interning at the Ardmore Initiative

Read our first article of our CCPA Summer Series 2017! Written by Jared Turner ’19

Whitehead Internship
Ardmore Initiative, Ardmore PA
By: Jared Turner ’19
 Featured photo from Destination Ardmore 
This summer, I will complete an 8-week internship at the economic and community development firm, Ardmore Initiative in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. The opportunity arose after completing the necessary steps in the CCPA’s Whitehead Internship process. As I write this post, I have not actually started my internship but, I hope to provide you with information on my responsibilities for the summer and what I want to gain from the experience.
Founded in 1988, “Ardmore Initiative’s mission is to create and maintain a thriving, economically viable downtown business district for the benefit of merchants, residents, and visitors.” Moreover, my job, this summer, is to work with the helpful members of the Initiative to bring this mission to fruition.
More specifically, I have been tasked with four major areas of focus for the summer: Understanding the Stakeholders, Walk Ardmore Campaign, Physical Survey of the Ardmore Business District and a Survey of Business/Property Owners. Ardmore Initiative is made up of an Executive Committee, a governing Board and then ran on a day-to-day basis by the Executive Director, Christine Vilardo and Assistant Executive Director, Marie Suvansin. In regard to “Understanding the Stakeholders,” I will meet with current and former members of the Initiative, as well as interviewing businesses and writing spotlights on these businesses.
Additionally, I will work with the other members of the Initiative to coordinate the Walk Ardmore Campaign. This campaign is aimed at bringing people to the Historic Ardmore District and in turn spurring foot traffic to the businesses within Ardmore. In conjunction with this specific campaign, I am to work with Executive Director Vilardo and Assistant Executive Director Suvansin to brainstorm other ways to increase interest in the businesses in Ardmore. Some possible areas of investigation include marketing Ardmore’s great Thrift shops, Historic Buildings and avenues for Fitness exploration.
My next task will involve a Physical Survey of the Ardmore Business District. This survey involves walking around the District interviewing different business owners and updating the database on new vacancies and changes in occupancy. The survey provides Ardmore Initiative with a better snapshot of the District so that, we can better tailor programs to meet the needs of a changing business demographic. My final large responsibility for the summer goes and hand-in-hand with the Physical Survey. I will also conduct a more business-based survey of Business or Property Owners. This will detail facts like, number of women or minority-owned businesses, number of employees and the expiration date on the building leases. Similar to the physical survey, the Business/Property Owner survey will provide the Ardmore Initiative with a better understanding of the business district.
The internship, as a whole, provides me with a unique opportunity to acquire real world community and economic knowledge. Here at Haverford, I am a Political Science Major with an Economics Minor. Professionally, I want to find a way to blend my charismatic personality and political ambition with feasible change. An internship with the Ardmore Initiative will help me better how you enact tangible change. Moreover, Whitehead Internship will provide me with necessary experience that I can apply to different parts of my life.