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GiveBackHack logo

Attend GiveBackHack Baltimore on Feb. 1-3

Have a big idea to change the world? Join us at GiveBackHack Baltimore on Feb. 1-3 at Allovue, R. House 2nd Floor, 301 W. 29th St. in Baltimore.

Contact Thomas Wise at twise@umaryland.edu today to receive a promo code for 50 percent off your ticket(s). What better way to start the New Year than by pursuing your dreams?

As part of our continuous efforts to improve the human condition and serve the public good of Maryland, the Graduate School at UMB supports GiveBackHack Baltimore, a weekend-long event where passion meets innovation and community members can come together to develop sustainable solutions.

Create a new team or join an existing one to bring your social impact idea to life. Participants also will have the opportunity to tap into mentorship as well as to network with makers and entrepreneurs with similar interests. The winning team will receive $2,000 in in-kind resources to further support their idea and will ultimately walk away with an invaluable experience.

Jade GrantCollaboration, Community Service, Contests, For B'more, People, TechnologyJanuary 17, 20190 comments
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Invisible No Longer

Improving Health for All of Us in Baltimore and Beyond

Are you a Baltimore resident who identifies as African-American/black, Hispanic, and/or LGBTQIA?

Join the University of Maryland School of Nursing for a free event to learn more about a National Institutes of Health-funded national research program seeking to gather important health information from 1 million-plus people in the United States. The anonymous data will help scientists prevent and treat illnesses for generations to come.

  • When: Saturday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Where: William Pinderhughes Elementary Middle School, 701 Gold St., Baltimore, MD 21217
  • Food: Free light breakfast served at 9 a.m. and lunch served at 12:30 p.m.
  • Learn more: JoinAllOfUs.org/together
  • Questions: Contact Kristen Rawlett at krawlett@umaryland.edu or 410-706-3906
Giordana SegneriFor B'more, People, ResearchJanuary 15, 20190 comments
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UMB’s Improved Live Near Your Work Program Touts 20 Homeowners in 2018

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program was designed to open the door to homeownership for University employees. In one short year since the program’s relaunch, that door has swung open 20 times, and Dawn Rhodes, MBA, chief business and finance officer and vice president, is thrilled with the results.

“In addition to the 20 people who took advantage of the opportunity to buy a home, I am so pleased with the UMB team and the community partners that made this happen,” says Rhodes, who led the initiative’s upgrade in January 2018 and emphasizes that community revitalization is key to the program’s mission. “Becoming a homeowner and developing equity is a financially transformative life event. It’s phenomenal that UMB can do that for its employees and contribute to the revitalization of Southwest Baltimore at the same time.”

The improved LNYW Program offers eligible employees a UMB grant of $16,000 — plus a matching grant of $2,500 from the city of Baltimore — to help with closing costs and down payments on houses in seven targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods: Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

The University’s former LNYW outlay of $2,500 (plus $2,500 from the city) was rarely used, so UMB leaders committed $1.5 million to boost the grant, with more than $320,000 used to date. In addition, the initiative was transformed through community partnerships with Live Baltimore, the Southwest Partnership, and GO Northwest Housing Resource Center to offer homebuying workshops, financial counseling, neighborhood tours, a housing fair, and more.

When UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, presented the improved program to employees in a kickoff event last January at the SMC Campus Center, he predicted the moves would “change the game.” And they have, especially considering that only four employees received grants under the old LNYW Program between 2013 and 2017.

“When you take into account those types of numbers, this exceeded all of my expectations of the program in Year 1,” says Emily Winkler, Human Resources benefits manager and LNYW Program coordinator, who adds that it was more than the money that moved employees to action. “I feel that the community engagement aspect of the program really sealed the deal with our buyers. Each one I have talked to has raved about their neighbors and this wonderful opportunity.”

Employees from several UMB offices and each of the professional schools — dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, law, and social work — have utilized the program, extolling the benefits of living close to their workplace and owning a home as opposed to renting.

Among the new homeowners:

  • Shea Lawson, research project coordinator at the Brain and Tissue Bank at the School of Medicine, was the first employee to use the grant, settling into a Pigtown rowhouse in March. “I really didn’t have enough for a down payment on a house. I would’ve had to canvass some relatives for a loan,” Lawson says. “If it weren’t for this program, I probably would’ve ended up in another rental situation.”
  • Tara Wells, program administrative specialist in the Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health at the School of Nursing, heeded the advice of the school’s dean, Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, to pursue the grant. Wells is now the proud owner of a rowhouse in Pigtown. “The neighborhood is quiet. It’s really peaceful. And the neighbors on my block have been awesome,” she says. “I would encourage anyone at UMB to take advantage of this program.”
  • Olayinka Ladeji, MPH, PATIENTS Program project manager at the School of Pharmacy, stacked an additional $10,000 in outside homebuying grants to her LNYW funds and bought a house in Washington Village. “I appreciated all the different resources that were made available to me by the program, including referrals to different organizations in Baltimore that assist homebuyers,” she says.
  • Vonetta Edwards, PhD, laboratory research lead specialist at the Institute for Genome Sciences at the School of Medicine, bought a house in Hollins Market, saying the grant was her catalyst. “It propelled me from thinking about purchasing a home to actually doing it,” Edwards says. “Especially for first-time homebuyers, the amount that covers both closing costs and the down payment is almost too good to leave on the table.”

Heading into Year 2 of the improved LNYW Program, interested UMB employees are encouraged to attend homebuying workshops, offered by GO Northwest, that are scheduled for Feb. 23 and April 27 at the SMC Campus Center, as well as a Live Baltimore-led trolley tour of Southwest Baltimore planned for May 11. The trolley tour proved popular last year, and Rhodes is eager for more employees to get on the LNYW train in 2019.

“To have 20 grant recipients in Year 1 really speaks to the dedication of the core team working on the project at UMB, and I personally would like to double our number the second year,” Rhodes says. “Mayor Catherine Pugh mentions the program often, recognizes Dr. Perman regularly for the program’s success, and challenges other anchor institutions in Baltimore to step up the way UMB has.

“This was the right thing to do in the right neighborhoods, and I think Live Near Your Work is another example of how UMB walks the talk for community engagement.”

— Lou Cortina

 The LNYW website has more information on the program’s parameters, application process, targeted neighborhoods, and more.

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University AdministrationJanuary 14, 20190 comments
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The President's Message-January

The President’s Message

Check out the January issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the Graduate School’s centennial. Also, former Senator Barbara Mikulski urges civic engagement at the President’s Panel on Politics and Policy; crime was down 21 percent in 2018, UMB Police Force reports; the School of Medicine launches a cultural transformation; seed grant events here and at College Park show the importance of collaboration; UMB CURE Scholars enjoy a Winter Wonderland; and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAJanuary 10, 20190 comments
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The Journey Home

Volunteers Needed for Baltimore’s Homeless Point-in-Time Count

The Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Human Services’ Homeless Services Program is planning for its annual Homeless Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, which will take place this month, and needs volunteers to help.

The PIT Count is an important service engagement and data collection strategy that helps to advance “The Journey Home,” Baltimore’s plan to end homelessness. The PIT Count helps Baltimore to identify individuals, families, and youths experiencing homelessness and connect them to much-needed housing and support services. It also helps the mayor’s office gather important data on the needs and characteristics of people experiencing homelessness. This information is used to inform community planning and the development of effective interventions to end homelessness in Baltimore.

During the week of Jan. 27, volunteers are needed to canvass neighborhoods, hospitals, service provider’s locations, and other places that people experiencing homelessness can be found in Baltimore to administer surveys to individuals experiencing homelessness.

There are three ways volunteers can get involved:

Street Count

Small groups of volunteers will be led by an experienced homeless service provider in canvassing streets and outdoor locations to survey individuals experiencing homelessness. This shifts take place from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, and 6:30 pm to 11 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 28. Volunteers must be available for both nights. On the first night of the street count, volunteers will receive training and dinner.

Daytime Site-Based Count

Small groups of volunteers will be led by an experienced homeless service provider in surveying individuals at community sites such as the Beans and Bread Center or Paul’s Place. These shifts take place each day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28, to Wednesday, Jan. 30. Site-based volunteers will attend a webinar training the week before the PIT Count. The webinar will be recorded for volunteers who cannot attend live. You will receive a registration link for the webinar a week before the training.

Leader Positions

Service providers, individuals with PIT Count experience, or those interested in taking on more of a leadership role can volunteer to be a team leader for the two-night street count on Jan. 27-28, or at a daytime site-based location during the Jan. 28-30 time period. Team leaders will receive a more detailed, in-person training and will lead teams of five to seven volunteers during the count.

All interested volunteers may sign up on our registration page.

Your cooperation and time are greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Brian.Reynolds@baltimorecity.gov or call 410-396-6807.

Brian ReynoldsCommunity Service, For B'moreJanuary 9, 20190 comments
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The President's Message - December 2018

The President’s Message

Check out the December issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on our record-shattering year in extramural funding — $667.4 million in grants and contracts. Also, a holiday greeting; TEDx UMB showcases our big ideas; ceremonial opening for HSRF III; Project Feast serves Thanksgiving meals to those in need; Nursing, Social Work win HEED awards for diversity; students prevail in national public health interprofessional challenge; informatics pioneer saluted at UMB; University takes the fight against opioid addiction on the road; be merry, and wary, around the holidays; and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

Back issues of the newsletter can be found in the archives.
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, UMB News, University Life, USGADecember 10, 20180 comments
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Barbara Mikulski speaks to the UMB audience

Mikulski Talks Social Work Roots, Local Organizing, D.C. Politics

Barbara Mikulski, MSW ’65, was a social worker before launching her legendary and pioneering 45-year political career, but she doesn’t consider it a former job.

“People always say that I was once a social worker, but I say this: If you are a social worker, there’s never a ‘once,’” said Mikulski, drawing applause as the featured guest in the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President’s Panel on Politics and Policy on Nov. 27 at the SMC Campus Center. “You are a social worker forever in whatever you do and whatever you become. And I think going into politics is social work with power.”

A proud graduate of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Mikulski talked about those social work roots, community organizing, civility in Washington, presidential politics, the 2020 census, and more in her conversation with UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD. She also took questions from the crowd of 220-plus that filled the Elm Ballrooms for the seventh installment of the panel series, which was launched in January 2017 to examine issues important to the University community that are likely to be affected by the Trump administration and Congress.

(Read about past speakers here and view a photo gallery from the Mikulski event here.)

In his introduction, Perman described Mikulski as his friend and advisor and detailed her trailblazing work as a champion for women, higher education, seniors, and the disadvantaged as the longest-serving woman ever in the U.S. Senate. He pointed out that when Mikulski was asked why she wasn’t seeking a sixth term in 2016, she said, “Well, do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?”

“You know which one she chose,” Perman said with a smile.

Indeed, during the hourlong event, Mikulski showed the mix of feisty and folksy that made her a Maryland political legend and a 30-year force in the Senate, stressing that interpersonal relationships and unconventional thinking often are the keys to getting things accomplished. Now a professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University, Mikulski began by recounting her shift from social worker to community organizer, rallying opposition to a federal highway construction project in Baltimore 50 years ago.

“I said, ‘Look, we need to fight this,’” Mikulski said. “So we got people in the community together at a bar, had a few shots of ouzo, and said we have to give ourselves a militant name and create the illusion of power. So we came out with SCAR, the Southeast Council Against the Road, and I began the highway fight that took me into politics.”

In her next stop, early during her tenure on the Baltimore City Council that began in 1971, Mikulski said she asked the body’s president to go outside the committee structure to create a rape task force, aiming to treat women who had been assaulted as trauma victims rather than merely crime victims. Counting the task force as among her proudest achievements, Mikulski said of her approach, “Always go outside the box, because otherwise you leave yourself in a box forever.”

This type of thinking was present during her time in the House of Representatives (1976-1986) and in the Senate (1986-2017), she said, particularly in regard to bipartisanship. Mikulski, a Democrat, recalled that in the early 1990s a newly elected Republican senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison, reached out to her for a meeting and, despite her staff’s misgivings, she obliged. This led to a friendship with Hutchison and regular meetings among female senators from both political aisles, she said.

“We didn’t agree on a lot of issues,” Mikulski said. “But we agreed on two things first: We would approach each other in a zone of civility and we would never demonize each other. We would always interact with integrity, a sense of honor, and intellectual rigor.”

Mikulski said that areas of agreement included promoting women’s economic empowerment and especially women’s health, and that the senators from opposing parties could find common ground on issues such as mammogram quality standards and breast cancer research funding.

“We all agreed if we were going to ‘Race for the Cure,’ we wanted to lead the marathon, so that was another proud accomplishment,” Mikulski said.

Searching for Common Ground

Staying on the topic of political relations, Perman asked about the state of affairs in Washington today and whether the partisan divide could ever be bridged. “How do these two parties at odds on absolutely everything find some common ground?” he said.

While lamenting the vitriol and gridlock, Mikulski was optimistic that newcomers in the next Congress — “a blue wave that I’d hoped would be a tsunami,” she said — could help to turn the tide of negativity.

“There’s a tremendous new group coming in and a lot of new women got elected,” Mikulski said. “And not only does the blue wave wear lipstick and high heels, it wears camouflage. Many of the women coming in have had military service. And these veterans bring a different view. They’re a different generation. They’re not only going to come to fight for veterans’ health care, but they will oppose wars that should not be fought and make sure we win wars if we’re going to fight them.

“Most important, I believe they’re going to put country over party. I think that they’re going to make a difference, not only in terms of policy, but in terms of tone and tenor. Keep an eye on them.”

Asked about her thoughts on the 2020 presidential race, Mikulski said she thinks the Democratic nominee will come out of the West or Midwest and that President Donald Trump will face a challenge from within the Republican Party. She said the Democrats’ race could be over quick, partly because California’s primary was moved from June to March, and she mentioned four senators — Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Sherrod Brown — as possible contenders.

“These are very talented people,” she said. “You also have Joe Biden pondering a run and Bernie Sanders pondering another run. So it’s going to be exciting.”

2020 Census Critical for Baltimore

Bringing the discussion back to the local level, Mikulski, a lifelong resident of Baltimore, stressed the importance of the city’s participation in the 2020 census, tasking Perman and the University community with aiding Mayor Catherine Pugh to make sure every person is counted so the city can receive its fair share of federal funds.

“The consequences for Baltimore and Maryland are significant,” Mikulski said. “Eighty-five percent of all federal funds that will come to Baltimore will be formula-driven, from Medicaid to mass transit, from Section 8 housing to school lunch programs. If we don’t get the census right, we will disadvantage ourselves for a decade — for a decade!”

An undertaking like the census, Mikulski added, is where members of the UMB community can learn real-world lessons in civic engagement. And while she recognizes the power of technology and social media, she hopes that young people will realize that it takes more than emails, tweets, or hashtags to effect social change.

“This is a fantastic tool for organizing,” Mikulski said, holding up her cellphone, “but it’s also bloodless, you know? You might get the email, but you don’t get the person. So that’s why there’s nothing like interpersonal gatherings.

“I would encourage civic engagement and volunteerism, and my advice is this: Don’t treat civic engagement like it’s just an event. ‘Oh, I will go to the march. Oh, I will race for the breast cancer cure.’ That’s great. That’s wonderful. But you’ve got to do more than that.

“Engagement has to be a lifestyle, not an event.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeNovember 30, 20180 comments
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The President's Message-November

The President’s Message

Check out the November issue of The President’s Message. It includes:

  • Dr. Perman’s column on UMB leadership’s 10-day trip to Asia
  • A look back at Founders Week
  • UMB Police launch COAST outreach team
  • A new cohort of CURE Scholars dons white coats
  • First piece of public art at UMB unveiled
  • Then-Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith joins White Paper discussion on gun violence
  • A look ahead to the UMB TEDx event (Nov. 9) and Barbara Mikulski’s visit (Nov. 27)
  • A roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements and a call for Board of Regents’ Staff Award nominations
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, UMB News, University Life, USGANovember 9, 20180 comments
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Thanksgiving Food drive volunteers

Thanksgiving Collection: Donate a Basket Through Nov. 13

UMB’s Staff Senate and the Office of Community Engagement are teaming up to host a Thanksgiving food drive through Tuesday, Nov. 13, to benefit CURE Scholar and Police Athletic/Activities League families of West Baltimore.

Departments or individuals can sponsor a family by collecting the items below to fill a Thanksgiving food basket.

Each donation basket should include:

  • 2 boxes of stuffing
  • 2 cans of cranberries
  • 2 boxes of mashed potatoes
  • 2 cans of sweet potatoes
  • 2 cans of gravy
  • 4 cans of vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, etc.)

Don’t Have Time to Shop?

You can donate online through the Staff Senate giving page.

Collection Drop-Off

Through Nov. 13, donations can be placed in collection bins located at the following locations:

  • Saratoga Building lobby, 220 Arch St.
  • Lexington Building, first- and second-floor lobbies, 620 W. Lexington St.
  • MSTF Atrium, BIORESCO, 695 W. Baltimore St.
  • Cancer Center, Clinical Research Center, 22 N. Greene St.
  • School of Social Work lobby, 525 W. Redwood St.
  • School of Nursing lobby, 655 W. Lombard St.
  • School of Nursing, sixth floor, in front of elevators
  • SMC Campus Center lobby, next to guard station, 621 W. Lombard St.
  • Facilities Maintenance Service Center, 622 W. Fayette St.
  • Bressler Research Building, Room 7-022, 655 W. Baltimore St.
  • HSF II Building lobby, 20 Penn Street
  • School of Law lobby, 500 W. Baltimore Street
Brian SturdivantCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, People, UMB News, University Life, USGANovember 9, 20180 comments
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Don't Block the Box logo

Note to Drivers in the City: Don’t Block the Box

Did you know it’s illegal to block the box in an intersection? Avoid blocking the box — wait to enter an intersection until you are sure you can make it all the way through the intersection. Wait behind the stop bar, not in the crosswalk. Wait behind the stop bar, not in the crosswalk, and look to see if the vehicles in front of you on the other side of the intersection have left enough room for you to make it through without stopping in the crosswalk on the other side.

The fine for a vehicle obstructing or impeding the free flow of traffic in an intersection or marked crosswalk is $125. Learn more at this Baltimore City Department of Transportation webpage.

Dana RampollaBulletin Board, For B'moreNovember 5, 20180 comments
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School of Social Work logo

Alliance of Anti-Racist Social Work Practitioners to Meet on Nov. 16

The first meeting of the Alliance of Anti-Racist Social Work Practitioners will take place on Friday, Nov. 16, at 12:15 p.m. in Room 2W11 of the School of Social Work at 525 W. Redwood St.

Social workers, other students, and Baltimore community members are welcome to join us.

Come hungry! There will be sticky wings, salad, drinks, and cake, provided by Breaking Bread LLC.

The Alliance is a student-led community organization dedicated to racial justice.

For more information and questions, email Katie Golden or follow the group on Facebook.

Kaitlyn GoldenBulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Research, University Life, USGANovember 2, 20180 comments
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Dr. Perman with early voters

Community Engagement Center Early Voting Site ‘Gets Out The Vote’

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) is making good on its campaign to “Get Out The Vote” by hosting an early voting site for the 2018 general election. Baltimore City residents can vote and register to vote at the center through Nov. 1.

Since Oct. 25, the polls have be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, including Saturday and Sunday. The CEC, located in the Poppleton neighborhood, adjacent to the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus, is one of seven voting sites operated by the Baltimore City Board of Elections and the only site in the downtown Baltimore area.

“I consider it a privilege that UMB is able to host a polling place for our neighbors, that I get to join them in exercising my right to vote, and that together we can show Baltimore’s children the importance of this civic responsibility,” says UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD. “Every single election is vital. And by coming together in this way, we’re recommitting to our shared community and standing up for the people we think will strengthen us and advocate for us and uphold the values we believe are non-negotiable.”

Perman joined community members at the polls on Oct. 25, when he cast his ballot at the CEC. He also spoke with members of several organizations that spent weeks canvassing the neighborhoods to boost voter registration and maximize early voting participation.

 

“We see voting as one way for our neighbors to build political power, and we are very happy to assist in that effort,” says Kelly Quinn, PhD, the CEC coordinator.

Leading up to the polls’ opening, Quinn worked in tandem with the Southwest Partnership, a coalition of seven Baltimore neighborhood associations and six institutions including UMB, as well as #BaltimoreVotes, an organization committed to engaging Baltimoreans, without prejudice or bias, in every election. Together, they organized several events to help raise civic awareness in the West Baltimore community and encourage residents to engage in early voting.

“Voting is our superpower,” explains Curtis Eaddy, manager of events and marketing for the Southwest Partnership. “Voting gives us the power to change laws that impact our daily living.”

Back in September, the CEC along with #BaltimoreVotes and the Baltimore People’s Climate Movement hosted a “Get Out the Vote” pep rally. The goal of the pep rally was to help Baltimore residents learn more about what will be on the ballot while also emphasizing the importance of community building and participation in the Maryland General Election.

Several other community-based organizations also attended the pep rally in support of the efforts to push Baltimore City residents to vote and register to vote, including: the Southwest Partnership, No Boundaries Coalition, Black Girls Vote, Baltimore Women United, Be the Change, Communities United, and former first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign, When We All Vote.

Their support for voter participation did not stop at the pep rally. When the polls opened for early voting Oct. 25, Communities United, an organization that empowers low-income Marylanders to achieve transformative change on racial, economic, and social justice issues, was out in front of the voting station with a van full of people eager to cast their ballots. Members of the organization volunteered to provide transportation to and from the CEC during early voting to make it more accessible to people who would not make it to the polls otherwise.

“People have the right to vote, they work hard to be able to vote,” explained Nabeehah Azeez, organizer for Communities United. “We want to make sure that every person has access to a polling site to exercise their right.”

Meanwhile, Black Girls Vote, a local nonpartisan organization designed to represent the concerns and interests of black women, focused on getting first-time voters to participate. Members of the organization transported vans of voting-age students from Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts to the CEC to cast their ballots for the first time.

“I feel grown up,” exclaimed 18-year-old Denise Johnson as she exited the polling station. “It feels great to know that I am doing my part as a member of the community”

The push for civic engagement even stretched to individual members of the community. Heather Kangas, LCSW-C ’14, is a resident of the Pigtown neighborhood in West Baltimore and an employee assistant social worker for housekeepers and food staff at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). To motivate her colleagues, she hosted a registration event at UMMC during shift change and informed them about the early voting site just a short walk away from the hospital at the CEC.

“An early voting site at the CEC creates more time for working people who have these precarious schedules to actually participate,” Kangas explains. “It’s great that it’s in such a central location for people to come and vote before or after work or even on their lunch break.” With help from Quinn, Kangas managed to get about a dozen hospital employees registered to vote ahead of early voting.

The contributions and support from all parties seemed to make a lasting impression on the community. In the first two hours of the polls’ opening Oct. 25 more than 200 people flooded the CEC to vote, and a steady stream of voters continued in the days to follow.

In an effort to continue this momentum, the CEC will host a “Party at the Polls” on Thursday, Nov. 1, outside the center for their West Baltimore neighbors. On that same day, the CEC also will be partnering with Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, located a few blocks away from the center in the Franklin Square neighborhood, to host a second “Party at the Polls” in the hopes of turning high school students into first-time voters.

Thanks to a generous donation from Mile 22 and #BaltimoreVotes, the CEC will provide food, games, and music at the polling parties as well as shuttle service to and from the voting station. Members of the Southwest Partnership along with students from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Master of Public Health students at the University of Maryland School of Medicine will be on hand to volunteer at these polling parties, which create yet another avenue to make voting fun and accessible for the community.

The CEC will resume its regularly scheduled activities with neighborhood residents, including the Police Athletic/Activities League, exercise classes, and food markets on Nov 2. Call the CEC at 410-706-8260 for details.

— Jena Frick

View an early voting photo gallery and a pep rally photo gallery.

Jena FrickCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 31, 20180 comments
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Hazel Lewis serving food at Hope Lodge

UMB Police Serve Hot Meal to Cancer Patients at Hope Lodge

To “protect and serve” is the creed followed by police officers on the job every day. On Oct. 17, officers from the University of Maryland, Baltimore Police Force (UMBPF) took the latter part of that creed literally. Armed with aprons and hair nets, half a dozen officers along with police Chief Alice Cary, MS, spent the evening serving dinner to residents at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge of Baltimore.

“It is amazing that the UMBPF officers are coming in to embrace our family,” said Karen Seaberry, manager of the Hope Lodge facility in Baltimore. “They’ve always made us a part of the community. They protect us, they serve us, and now it’s great to see them come in and interact with some of our guests.”

Hope Lodge provides a home away from home for patients battling cancer from all around the world. There are 31 Hope Lodge facilities across the United States — including Puerto Rico and Hawaii — and the mid-Atlantic facility is located on the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s campus on West Lexington Street. Hope Lodge provides housing and hospital transportation for its residents free of charge but does not always have the means to provide meals.

Cpl. Hazel Lewis discovered this after meeting a cancer patient who was staying at Hope Lodge. Lewis was providing her with a police escort from her treatment at the Maryland Proton Treatment Center.

“Out of curiosity I asked her what she was eating tonight,” Lewis explained. “She said she didn’t know because Hope Lodge doesn’t necessarily provide dinner every night. Meals usually come from volunteers or through donations, and I said, ‘Wow I never knew that.’ ”

That was all it took for Lewis to begin looking for ways to help. She rallied UMBPF officers to donate money, so they could cater and serve a hot meal to the Hope Lodge residents. Her fellow officers were more than happy to pitch in and volunteer.

“I was all for giving support,” Pfc. Ronald Nicholson said. “I think it’s a great idea and a good way to give back to the community and show our love and support as police officers.”

Lewis, Nicholson, and Cary along with Deputy Chief Thomas Leone, Assistant Chief Dameon Carter, Detective William Epperson and security guard Evelyn Greenhill served up a dinner of baked chicken, mac and cheese, rice, and greens with a bundt cake for dessert. They also prepared and delivered plates of food to patients who were too sick to come out of their rooms for dinner.

Chief Cary expressed her excitement to see her officers engaging the community in such a heartfelt way, and she commended Lewis for taking the initiative to coordinate this act of service.

“Hazel has a great heart. She’s full of compassion, not just at Hope Lodge but everywhere else on campus,” Cary said. “I’m hoping this will be the start of a new tradition, and it’s all because of Hazel Lewis and her outreach.”

This dinner is only the first course of a new relationship between the UMBPF and Hope Lodge of Baltimore. Lewis says she hopes to make Hope Lodge dinners a monthly event for her department.

“I think this is just the beginning!” Lewis exclaimed. “Hope Lodge is right on our campus. It’s right next door to us, so why not give back?”

Lewis’ act of selflessness will be crucial for residents of the facility as the holiday season approaches, as many guests will not be able to spend time with their families. Seaberry is encouraging people to follow Lewis’ lead and donate their time by putting on events or activities at Hope Lodge to create a jovial atmosphere throughout the holiday season. She’s also asking the community to check out Hope Lodge of Baltimore’s Amazon Wishlist, which has a list of suggested gifts and supplies people can donate through Amazon.com.

For more information on how you can volunteer or donate to Hope Lodge of Baltimore, visit the American Cancer Society website or call the facility directly at 410-547-2522.

— Jena Frick

(View a photo gallery and watch a video about the event.)

 

Jena FrickCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, People, UMB NewsOctober 24, 20180 comments
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UMB Police COAST team

New COAST Program Ramps Up UMB Police Community Engagement Efforts

Since taking over as University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) police chief in June, Alice Cary, MS, has put her stamp on the force by stressing the need, in her words, “to build community relationships through effective, University-based policing.” To foster those ties, Cary has created a Campus Outreach and Support Team (COAST), a program that will be led by three veterans of the UMB Police Force.

The officer overseeing the team is Lt. Matthew Johnson, an 11-year UMB Police Force veteran who recently was promoted from sergeant. Cpl. Jevon Thompson, MPA, and Acting Sgt. J.R. Jones, who have each been at UMB for more than a decade, will fill the program’s homeless and neighborhood liaison roles, respectively.

The COAST head and two liaisons will serve as key conduits in Cary’s community engagement efforts, collaborating with UMB offices, city of Baltimore police and agencies, and non-governmental entities such as the Southwest Partnership neighborhood association. Cary said that COAST will work out of the UMB Police substation at the UM BioPark and that it’s all part of her goal to have a “robust campus engagement team.”

“There are many different needs from the campus and the community relating to police and public safety, and if we don’t get on the right communications track, the wrong information will be getting out there,” Cary says. “So that’s why we need these liaisons, officers who will actually be hearing about those wants and needs and relaying them back to us.”

As head of the team, Johnson said he plans to use frameworks already in place to continue developing an organizational culture that focuses on police being a part of the community, not simply working in the community. He aims to make sure UMB officers reach out not only in person, but also digitally via social networking.

“My vision is to create solutions that will remove the barriers to positive relationships with the community,” Johnson says. “Policing is not solely about enforcing the law, it also is about building relationships with the people to create positive change.

“COAST streamlines all of our community engagement activities under one umbrella, as opposed to having different programs that aren’t working together for the common goal. The programs are meant to overlap and be cohesive. We are building COAST to be innovative and an example for others to use when designing their community engagement programs. I’m excited and humbled to spearhead something so valuable and paramount.”

‘Compassion in My Heart’

Thompson is a 15-year veteran of the force who stepped up immediately when Cary raised the idea of creating a homeless liaison. “He expressed interest right away, then started doing research and collaborating with the city,” Cary says. “He took the ball and started running with it.”

The plight of the homeless resonates with Thompson, who said he was on the verge of being homeless many years ago when he worked as a waiter. “So I’ve always had compassion in my heart for this population,” he says. “When Chief Cary mentioned she wanted to start this program, it just really sparked an interest.”

The goal of the homeless liaison program is two-pronged: 1) To educate UMB students, faculty, and staff on how to interact with the population; and 2) to guide the homeless on where and how to access social services and other supports through the University, Veterans Affairs, the city, and other agencies.

“A lot of this program will be information sharing,” Thompson says. “A lot of the homeless don’t realize the services that are afforded them. So I do plan to reach out to them, hand out literature, and educate them on where they can go for services that can help them get back on their feet with employment, financial, or housing assistance.

“I plan to inform our department and the University in developing a master list of different referral services, so when our officers encounter citizens on the street, especially homeless veterans, those people in need can be directed toward the services available.”

Cary said the team will collaborate with a case worker from the city’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program, which launched in 2017 and redirects people arrested for low-level drug offenses to treatment and other services.

“We will have office space available here for the LEAD case worker so that the team and Jevon in particular can work closely with that person,” Cary says. “These type of offenders will get referred to a diversion program instead of jail, and it will help those who are dealing with addiction to address the problem.

“We need to approach the homeless problem in a humanitarian way. A lot of agencies just push them out of a particular area, but that’s just giving someone else the problem and not attacking the issue as it stands. So, this is a start.”

‘Best Parts of Different Programs’

Jones, a 13-year veteran of the force who also worked 30 years as a Baltimore City officer, said as neighborhood liaison it will be his duty to make sure that the needs of the University and Southwest Baltimore communities are heard and understood by the UMB police.

“There are numerous areas around the UMB campus where students, faculty, and staff live,” he says, “so we need to foster better communication and build relationships between the police and those communities. COAST combines the best parts of different programs and has us all working together toward a common goal.”

Cary echoed Jones’ comments, saying it’s important to remember that many UMB students live off campus in these neighborhoods, so their safety concerns and needs must be addressed. She cited results from the National Crime Victimization Survey that show college students are most likely to be robbed when traveling to and from school, specifically between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“We don’t want to lose focus of the students, but our campus is relatively secure, in a broad sense,” Cary says. “It’s the nexus that has the concerns. So we need to make sure we’re addressing not only the core of the University but the areas where a lot of our students live.”

She adds that UMB Police need to be savvy on social media and develop apps that students will use, saying social media is an important tool to keep them informed. “We need to meet students where they are — online,” Cary says. She also hopes to create a public information officer/media liaison to help with disseminating this type of information to the student population and beyond.

Two other UMB Police Force veterans, Pfc. Anthony Brown and Cpl. Andrew Degele, will support the team, and Cary said Jones will work with neighborhood associations such as the Southwest Partnership and will be a point person to attend community meetings in Southwest Baltimore and perhaps other districts in the city.

“There’s a lot of information that’s shared at those meetings, and the Southwest Partnership, for example, has a public safety task force, so we’re going to be part of that,” Cary says. “We need to hear what the citizens want, what our community wants, so by having that information and an open dialogue, we can strategize about how best to tackle these problems.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 17, 20180 comments
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