Among the members of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s Community Fellowship class of 2012, there are artists, vocational counselors, public and mental health experts, an urban planner, an environmental scientist and a construction foreman.
Each has a plan: partnering with an alcohol and drug center to provide employment preparation services, managing a city neighborhood recycling and trash program, using digital media to engage East Baltimore youth in arts and social justice programs, expanding an existing volunteer-based program that distributes local produce to those without healthy food sources, for example.
All told, a dozen new OSI-Baltimore fellows will receive $720,000, or $60,000 each over the next 18 months, beginning yesterday, Nov.1. The funding will allow the fellows to work fulltime on implementing their ideas.
In a press release, Pamela King, OSI-Baltimore director of community fellowships, described the fellows — OSI-Baltimore’s largest group ever — as “dynamic and committed social activists, each with an original vision for bringing opportunity and greater justice to Baltimore."
The OSI-Baltimore’s Community Fellowship program marks its 15th year this fall. Most of the previous 125 fellows are still actively working in city to bring social change to Baltimore, according to OSI-Baltimore.
From OSI-Baltimore, the 2012 fellows are:
Akil Rahim, who will nurture and develop the interests of students and their parents in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics education.
Anne Kotleba, co-founder of the Baltimore United Viewfinders, who will use digital media to engage East Baltimore youth.
Antoine Bennett, who will establish Men of Valuable Action — a leadership development initiative that will work with men to reduce recidivism, promote educational goals, encourage family stability and support career development.
Arthur Morgan, who will expand Gather Baltimore, a program that collects fresh produce from farmers markets and farms for people without a healthy food source.
Bashi Rose, who will give African-American male high school students and incarcerated adults an opportunity to use theater and film as a conflict resolution tool.
Cheryl Carmona, who in partnership with the Boone Street Farm, will manage the Greater Greenmount trash and recycling campaign.
Christopher Merriam, who will build Bikemore and will advocate for the rights, safety, and equality of Baltimore’s cycling community.
David Hornbeck, who will establish a system of support service designed to improve the education, health and well-being of children and families in community schools.
Harold Bailey, who will partner with the Tuerk House Recovery Center to provide peer-to-peer counseling, social counseling workshops and employment preparation services for formerly incarcerated males.
Lauren Goodsmith, establishing a network of mental health professionals trained in culturally appropriate methods, Goodsmith and her team will provide counseling and therapeutic services at no or minimal cost to refugees.
Lawrence Brown, who will establish “You’re the Quarterback: Gameplan for Life.” Focusing on the football team narrative as an organizing tool, Lawrence will help men in central Baltimore get jobs and health insurance.
Pascha Lee, who will establish the ImagineMe Book Project a to support the academic and behavioral needs of middle school girls.
“Each year we continue to be surprised and inspired to see that there is no shortage of innovative approaches and solutions for our city," King said. "Working across issues and neighborhoods, these fellows bring hope, new methodologies, resources and advocacy skills to residents, mobilizing them to take action to meet their own needs and to revitalize Baltimore communities."