Judy Peregoff faced the daunting task of encapsulating on one typed page all that the university does for education and literacy in the state. Not just a self-imposed homework assignment, the letter she was crafting was to nominate Johns Hopkins for a Governor's Award on Service and Volunteerism.
For the past 18 years, the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism has held an annual event recognizing outstanding individuals and groups that enhance the quality of life in Maryland on a year-round basis. While Peregoff, who is director of Faculty, Staff and Retiree Programs, had nominated individual programs and employees for the award before, she felt on the occasion of the school's 125th year that it was appropriate to acknowledge Hopkins' overall efforts promoting and improving education and literacy in the community.
"I took the opportunity in honor of the university's 125th anniversary to do a brief overview of all the outstanding community outreach efforts that are currently going on, many of which I'm sure people aren't even aware of. It also did not seem fair to nominate one program or person and not nominate them all," Peregoff says. "Let me tell you, it was quite a challenge to do that in under 500 words. But with help from my staff, we were able to accomplish it."
Her one-page message was well-received. Last week the university was presented with the 2001 Governor's Award on Service and Volunteerism in the category of education and literacy in the classification of an organization with more than 2,500 employees. The award, which was accepted on behalf of the university by Jerry Schnydman, executive assistant to the president, recognizes Hopkins' involvement in more than 500 school-based collaborations with students, teachers and administrators throughout Maryland.
The honor, presented by Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, was given during the "Volunteers Make a World of Difference" statewide conference, held on May 2 and 3 at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Edgar Roulhac, vice provost for academic services, says that while the university is known worldwide for the groundbreaking research that goes on within its walls, the school's commitment to the betterment of the city and state it calls home sometimes gets overlooked.
"We touch the lives of individuals in our community daily, whether through health education, volunteer efforts, job training, economic development, what have you. Community service is part of our mission, and has been throughout our 125 years," Roulhac says. "That said, it feels good to be recognized for our efforts."
Roulhac says the university has been particularly committed to the education and literacy arena.
"In a general sense, what we are trying to do is bring Hopkins' remarkable intellectual and education assets to bear on compelling education issues, opportunities and challenges, not just in Baltimore but throughout the region and state," Roulhac says. "The goal has not been just to observe but to be an integral part of the solution."
Hopkins institutions currently provide a myriad of projects aimed at enhancing the education of children and adults. The university's K-12 initiatives address critical issues ranging from advanced teacher training to education reform, and from after-school tutorials to school reorganization. One innovative project is Teach Baltimore, a nonprofit program supported by the Office of Student Involvement (formerly the Office of Volunteer Services) that provides, among other services, summer instruction to more than 1,100 at-risk Baltimore City public school students.
Currently, 70 percent of Maryland's public schools host one or more K-12 initiatives.
Examples of Hopkins' volunteer efforts focused on education include members of the Peabody community sharing their music with students in various Baltimore schools, JHMI faculty working with students at Dunbar High School to prepare them for admission to college and future careers in the health professions, and scientists at the Applied Physics Laboratory hosting programs that demonstrate scientific principles to students throughout the state. For adults, Hopkins sponsors such endeavors as the Computer Job Skills Program, in which undergraduates offer computer training and support to enhance the job marketability of area residents.
Also honored during the statewide conference was Carolyn "Lindy" Lord, a senior clinical coordinator in Pediatrics-Endocrinology at the School of Medicine, who was presented with a Governor's Award on Service and Volunteerism in the individual, health care category. Lord was recognized for her commitment to the Wald Clinic at Rutland, a health clinic opened by the School of Nursing to provide service to the area's uninsured residents and those unable to access health services in a timely fashion. For the past year, Lord has volunteered at the Wald Clinic on a weekly basis, providing direct nursing care and bringing in books, toys, clothes and school supplies for the children, and recycled medical supplies for adult home use.
Details about various education initiatives sponsored by Johns Hopkins are available at the K-12 education database, located at http://www.jhu.edu/~vpas.
For a sampling of volunteer efforts by Hopkins employees, visit the 125 Ways of Caring site at http://www.jhu.edu/~outreach/125ways.
The goal of the 125 Ways of Caring campaign is for every Hopkins faculty and staff member to get involved in some sort of community outreach project at least once throughout the university's anniversary year.