Johns Hopkins alumni are often asked to give back to
the university. Now, a call has been made
for them to give back to Baltimore.
On Saturday, local alumni will join current Johns
Hopkins students and staff for the SOURCE
Spring Tri-School Day of Service, a full slate of community
service projects held across East
Baltimore. The annual event, sponsored and run by the Johns
Hopkins Student Outreach Resource
Center, will kick off Hopkins Helps, a new community
service endeavor that seeks to link alumni from
all university divisions to one-time service opportunities
in the city.
Hopkins Helps will initially be promoted to and
organized by the Alumni
Chapter, which serves the nearly 37,000 alumni living in
the area. However, other alumni chapters
could adopt the name for their own community service
Lisa Kushner, a senior alumni relations coordinator
and staff liaison of Hopkins Helps, said that
alumni volunteer efforts are nothing new, but the Baltimore
Chapter has never concentrated its
efforts on community service like this before.
"We wanted to step it up to a whole new level,"
Kushner said. "We know that a lot of alums want
to get involved and help out in the community. They also
love student interaction, so we thought we'd
first look at some ongoing student community service
projects, like what SOURCE is doing, that would
make the projects even more attractive."
Kushner said that the Alumni Association's Washington,
D.C., Chapter has been a model for
community service, and its efforts were part of the
inspiration for Hopkins Helps. One successful
partnership has been that chapter's work with Food and
Friends, a program that prepares, packages
and delivers meals and groceries to more than 1,400 people
living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other
life-challenging illnesses throughout the capital area.
For the Tri-School Day of Service, alumni will help
sort, stamp and shelve books at the
Baltimore Reads Book Bank, landscape a community garden
with members of the Historic East
Baltimore Community Action Coalition and educate patients
at the People's Community Health Centers
on nutrition and exercise, as part of Diabetes Defense Day.
Other project locations include the
Baltimore American Indian Center, Parks and People, St.
Francis Academy and Rayner Browne
SOURCE, founded in 2005, provides academic,
professional and personal development
opportunities for members of the schools of Medicine,
Nursing and Public Health through community
outreach and service-learning partnerships with
community-based organizations. The center
coordinates community involvement activities--from a
one-time park cleanup to an in-depth internship-
-and functions as a clearinghouse through which community
groups can request assistance. All of its
events are open to faculty and staff.
Mindi Levin, director of SOURCE, said that Hopkins
Helps can be a great way to improve
communications between students and alums.
"Potentially, it can open up other opportunities for
our students to be mentored by alums for
experiential education, such as internships," Levin
Kushner said that the Baltimore chapter intends to
offer Hopkins Helps projects once a month.
"We first want to gauge the interest level, but we hope to
make this a regular activity that we can
promote in each monthly newsletter," she said.
The program plans to "piggyback" on existing
student-focused community service projects and
will steer away from fund-raising efforts, Kushner said.
She foresees that alumni will also present
their own volunteer service ideas.
In addition to helping the community, Kushner said,
the program is yet another way for alumni
to stay connected with former classmates, make new friends
and mentor current students.
The Baltimore Chapter is currently organizing projects
for May and June, with details to come.
The events will be promoted on the Alumni Association's Web
site, via e-mail and in a newsletter that
goes out to all Baltimore area alumni.
For more information on Hopkins Helps and upcoming
projects, go to:
Alumni interested in volunteering should contact Kushner at