Since its launch last month, the Westport Marketplace has been a smash.
The online, one-stop shop for operating hours, safety precautions, links and more for nearly every store, restaurant, market, medical office, fitness center, realtor, auto dealer, and professional, home, personal and children’s service in town was a herculean effort.
Our Town Crier‘s Betsy Pollak led the way. She had the backing of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, Westport Downtown Merchants Association and town officials.
But none of it would have been possible without the skills and smarts of over 40 interns.
From graphic design to social media — and of course boots-on-the-ground gruntwork — the team of teenagers and and 20-somethings stepped up for their town.
It helped that all of the interns were already here. They left Staples High School and their colleges abruptly in March, pivoting to distance learning. But they had time on their hands, an abrupt end to their social lives to contend with — and talent, creativity and energy to share in abundance.
Rising Staples junior Tessa Moore got involved because she saw her community struggling. She appreciates being able to share information, while helping the local economy.
Sanna ten Cate, Marketplace co-director and a rising junior at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, had a chance to get “an inside look into the back end of businesses.” She calls the skill set of her fellow interns “astonishing.”‘
One of the most skillful was lead graphics intern Nate Kolek. The rising Staples senior called the digital collaboration “such a positive environment.”
Web operations lead and Emory University rising freshman Serena Ye volunteered as a way to combine her passions for business and communications, while supporting her community.
Jasmine Kitahara — a 2020 Cornell University graduate, and the lead web developer — was “able to do something I’ve never done before, and would never get the chance to do prior to starting my full-time career.” She used her college education to program and build the website.
Now that she is starting that career, the Westport Marketplace is looking for someone to take over her role (click here for details).
The Marketplace is also looking to expand its media team. For that, the web developer position and other posts, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before the Marketplace project, there was no master list of every Westport business. Even town officials had access to land records only, not the businesses within the parcels.
That’s one legacy of this effort. And — if the interns’ work has helped save even a few of them — that’s another.