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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 22, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 18
For the Record: Ten Recognized with MLK Jr. Community Service Awards

Seated: Kristina Obom, Sharon Baylis, Matt Haag, Anita McFarlane and Jackqueline Meadows. Standing: Janet Hicks, Shawneen Kelley, Marvina Wright, Allison Barlow and Monica Maxwell.
Photo by HIPS / Will Kirk

A researcher at the School of Public Health, a program chair in the School of Arts and Sciences and a security officer at JHH were among the 10 Johns Hopkins associates presented this year with Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards, which honor unselfish volunteer work. The awards were presented at the MLK Jr. Commemoration ceremony on Jan. 19.

Nominees are evaluated by panels of faculty and staff at their institutions and then are recommended to the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration executive committee, which selects the winners. A seven-member panel reviews the university nominations, and a four-member panel evaluates health system nominees.

In making its decision, each panel looks at five criteria: how vital the project is to the well-being of the community, how well received and well supported the project is within the community, the impact of the person's participation on the overall project, the impact on the community and the person's commitment to the activity or project.

Allison Barlow, director of Behavioral Health, Center for American Indian Health, School of Public Health

When Allison Barlow joined Baltimore Station, an organization that provides rigorous self-help programs to men transitioning out of poverty and substance abuse, she introduced innovative ideas such as the talking circle, a communication concept that draws from the strength of Native American communities. She is now considered both the "heart and soul" and the "backbone" of the Station. Barlow also contributes her leadership skills to SuperKids Camp, an intervention initiative for disadvantaged children in the Baltimore City public school system.

Sharon Baylis, case cart coordinator, Department of Surgery, JHH

Volunteering is a part of Sharon Baylis' daily life. She administers flu shots to seniors, teaches safe-sitter classes, gives CPR training to non-health-care workers, coordinates health fairs and presentations, teaches aerobics at a church and serves on the committee of Turnaround, a rape crisis and domestic violence center. She formerly volunteered with the Associated Black Charities, Special Olympics Summer Games and Baltimore chapter of NAACP.

Matthew Haag, interim manager and senior associate director for alumni and development relations, School of Nursing

Matt Haag offers community service in numerous arenas and brings his professional skills as a development officer and fund-raiser to all. A member of the board of the Southeast Youth Academy, an after-school program that offers a safe and supportive place for Southeast Baltimore teens, Haag has developed a comprehensive campaign to fund a state-of-the-art facility to house the group. In addition, he is serving his second term as president of the Fells Prospect Community Association, where his priorities are greening and improving the safety of the neighborhood. Colleagues say Haag is "bringing quality-of-life and community changes to Southeast Baltimore."

Janet Hicks, supervisor, Hopkins Access Line, JHH

Dedicating her time to education, Janet Hicks acts as a mentor to children from two local elementary schools as well as for a youth career development program. She also serves the Johns Hopkins community by interviewing and placing students in summer jobs throughout the JHMI system. Hicks says that coming from a less fortunate background herself, she knows the value of having someone to encourage you to stay in school. She teaches students to first respect themselves, allowing them to respect others more readily.

Shawneen Kelley, insurance and referral coordinator, Student Health and Wellness Center, Homewood Student Affairs

Bringing energy, dedication and commitment to everything she does, Shawneen Kelley volunteers her time to the American Cancer Society. She serves as chair of the Johns Hopkins Relay for Life, an annual overnight event to raise money for the ACS, and as a counselor at Camp Sunrise, a weeklong overnight camp for children who have or have had cancer. In 2005, she chartered the Johns Hopkins chapter of Colleges in Cancer.

Monica Maxwell, protective services officer, Corporate Security, JHH

A quintessential volunteer, Monica Maxwell works with Baltimore residents of all ages. For nearly a decade, she has donated an average of five hours a week to the Monument East Senior Center, assisting the elderly with cleaning, shopping, picking up medications and other basic daily errands, all using her own vehicle and fuel. Two years ago she received certification for childhood early education, and several days a week she helps young children at Montebello Elementary School. Wanting to give her time to the community in another way, Maxwell volunteers at polling places for Baltimore City primary and general elections.

Anita McFarlane, EKG technician, Cardiology, JHH

At the end of each workday, Anita McFarlane goes home to a house full of children--children from the community who are in dire need of a good meal, tutoring and love. These "Pan in the Community" children, ranging in age from 8 to 21, learn to put their energy into music, namely steel drums. McFarlane organizes the band and takes it to perform around the country as well as on educational trips. Lacking a positive home environment, McFarlane's kids are perpetually welcomed into her home to eat, learn and share their issues. So far, she and her husband have been able to send four of their mentees to college, providing the financial backing themselves.

Jackqueline Meadows, premium billing specialist, USFHP Premium Billing, Johns Hopkins HealthCare

When JHHC began a mentoring program with a local elementary school four years ago, Jackqueline Meadows asked to participate even though it was initially open only to exempt employees. A nonexempt employee, she offered to take paid time off from her job to volunteer. Today, she continues to make a difference in the lives of children. Also, as a member of the women's ministry of a local church, Meadows is currently developing a project in which volunteers will share their time with seniors in assisted-living homes.

Kristina Obom, associate chair of the master's degree program in biotechnology/bioinformatics, Advanced Academic Programs, School of Arts and Sciences

Kristina Obom is dedicated to the Girl Scouts. A leader for 11 years with two active troops, she has had eight Scouts receive the silver award and four the gold award, the highest Girl Scout honor. She also has served as a board member of the Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church Preschool, a Sunday school teacher, a children's bell choir director and a volunteer at the Dorothy Day Shelter. One of Obom's colleagues notes, "The Girl Scout Law ends with 'make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout.' As an alumna, employee and parent of a current JHU undergrad, Obom makes the world a better place."

Marvina Wright, quality control coordinator-supervisor for the Cell Center of the Genetics Resource Core Facility, School of Medicine

Believing that quality education is important and that everyone can help to improve the education provided by Maryland schools, Marvina Wright has mentored more than 30 students from two high schools, focusing on biotechnology instruction. As a member of MdBio, she has been a speaker at various schools to discuss her expertise in the field. Wright also has established a team from her office to volunteer at Our Daily Bread several times a month.


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