Andrew Wilhelm (IPED 2017) and Zach Thompson (IPED 2017) currently serve as Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow interns at the Fordham Road Business Improvement District (Fordham Road BID). Fordham Road BID is a nonprofit organization primarily consisting of local retailers dedicated to promoting economic development and improving the quality of life along Fordham Road, a major retail street serving various immigrant and low-income communities in the Bronx.
As an intern, Andrew is responsible for engaging with businesses and other local organizations to seek their support and sponsorship for Fordham Road BID events. He also liaises with relevant stakeholders to obtain permits for events, attends meetings, and performs various administrative duties. Currently, he is also working with Department of Transportation to have some new benches installed along Fordham Road.
Meanwhile, Zach shares that his favorite part of interning at Fordham BID is the variety of the work he does, which keeps the day unpredictable. Within a few weeks, he has contributed to Fordham Road BID’s annual report, has begun planning themes and logistics for events throughout spring and summer, and has liaised with local businesses and the American Cancer Society on an upcoming promotion. Later in the year, Zach will be working on the newly reconstructed Fordham Plaza, which should be an exciting opportunity to bring even more life to the Bronx.
Last December, Andrew and Zach also helped in the planning and preparation of “Sparkling The Heart of Fordham,” Fordham Road BID’s annual holiday celebration and biggest event. During the event, there was gift-giving to local children, a tree-lighting ceremony, and performances all throughout the night.
“On the day of the event, it was great to see everyone’s hard work pay off when hundreds of people attended the event and had a great time. It was especially fun for me to see how excited people were about the raffle prizes I obtained by endlessly calling sports teams, theaters, and museums,” Andrew shares.
“This was the first big project I had the opportunity to work on for Fordham Road BID, and seeing the happiness and joy of the children and families who were at the event was a great experience,” Zach adds.
The internship with Fordham BID is part of the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowships offered to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.