Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Hands-On STEM Education at the 29th Street Community Center

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Over the past several months, a group of dedicated students at the 29th Street Community Center have been participating in Maryland Science Olympiad (MSO). MSO is an after-school STEM enrichment program which encourages students to tackle a variety of STEM-focused challenges in a fun, but competitive, environment.

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In the fall, students selected MSO competition events they found interesting. They met twice a week after-school to practice these events and prepare for the Baltimore City tournament. These hands-on activities range from tests, for which students have to study specific STEM subjects, to construction challenges that require students to design and build structures, vehicles, or rockets. With help from a Johns Hopkins University student mentor group, the Charm City Science League, our students excelled in their chosen activities.

This past month, our students’ and their mentors’ hard work paid off at the city-wide tournament, where they placed 4th overall and qualified to compete in the state championship, scheduled to take place next month! Our students placed top five in several individual events at the Baltimore City tournament, including: 1st: Bridge Building, Fossils; 2nd: Wheeled Vehicle; 3rd: Anatomy, Dynamic Planet; 4th: Water Bottle Rockets, Crime Busters; and 5th: Can’t Judge a Powder, Write It Do It.

We are very proud of our students’ accomplishments and we are excited to share their success with everyone!

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Register for Summer Camp! The 29th Street Community Center provides exciting summer camp opportunities for kids of different ages and interests. Click here for page 1 and here for page 2 of the summer camp flyer. Make sure to register soon because space is limited! If you have any questions, please contact Center Director, Hannah Gardi.


Sponsor Spotlight: The Beliveau Group

The GHCC Blog Team caught up with Tina Beliveau, owner and team leader of The Beliveau Group (and one of our preferred realtors) to discuss city living, the importance of community centers, and GHCC’s 1st Annual Oktoberfest Fundraiser at Peabody Heights Brewery! 

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Can you tell us a bit about The Beliveau Group?

The Beliveau Group is a residential real estate team. We help people buy and sell homes throughout Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the surrounding counties. We are a team of specialists with over 25 years of combined experience in the industry. Our motto is “Creating a First Class Real Estate Experience”. We believe that what matters most in our business is elite customer service and life-long relationships. We are in the top 1% of real estate agents, locally and nationally. We put a high value on authentic relationships with our clients and the people we talk with on a daily basis.

What do you love most about working in Baltimore?

Where to begin! As real estate professionals, we appreciate the diverse choices of neighborhoods and lifestyles in Baltimore, from the most urban downtown neighborhoods to the more suburban feeling areas with many single family homes like Roland Park. There is something for everyone here. We really enjoy knowing the nooks and crannies of the entire city and helping people discover the lesser-known options they might have never been exposed to otherwise.

Why did you choose to sponsor the 1st Annual Oktoberfest Fundraiser for the 29th Street Community Center?

Being of service in our community as much as possible is a key element of our philosophy and goals. We strive to create opportunities for our team members, our clients, and the community at large in as many ways as we possibly can. We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Greater Homewood Community Corporation, and we really value their mission of strengthening north/central Baltimore neighborhoods. The 29th St Community Center is a natural extension of that relationship and we are thrilled to be supportive in as many ways as we can!

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The 1st Annual Oktoberfest Fundraiser to support the 29th Street Community Center at Peabody Heights Brewery.

From the perspective of a realtor, why are community centers important to potential home buyers?

When someone buys a home, the first and most important step is for them to sit down with us and have a detailed consultation on their home buying needs, budget and goals. During that meeting, there are certain prevalent themes that come up almost every time, and one of those is neighborhood quality. A strong community center is crucial for many people and we are excited to be able to help our clients get connected with these types of resources when they do move into their new home. We truly enjoy helping people network and get connected to resources that are helpful to them, whether it’s a community center, a babysitter, or a great contractor! We are pleased to be able to connect our clients to GHCC and the 29th Street Community Center and the programs it offers.

Have you ever utilized the 29th Street Community Center personally? Has The Beliveau Group?

We have not yet utilized the Community Center, but we plan to soon!

Buying a home in Baltimore is more affordable than you might think! GHCC’s Healthy Neighborhoods program can help by providing low-interest loans and incentives for buying and renovating homes on target blocks in north central Baltimore. To learn more about this program and opportunities to work with The Beliveau Group please contact Andre Stone at 410-261-3511 or astone@strongcitybaltimore.org.  

 


Community Center awarded for innovation

Hannah with CDN Award

Each year, the Community Development Network of Maryland (CDN) honors organizations around the state engaging in extraordinary community development work. CDN Awards of Excellence highlight organizations that make great social and economic impact in their work every day. GHCC is pleased to announce that our 29th Street Community Center won the CDN Innovation Award for its non-conventional and innovative approach to problem solving.

The 29th Street Community Center grew out of a hugely collaborative effort to build community at the intersection of several diverse neighborhoods. Today, the Center is a vehicle for community building that attracts middle-income families and provides a safe haven for low-income youth. Since re-opening last year, more than 1,000 residents have enrolled in free and low-cost programming, much of which is community led.


This is what community building looks like

When local leaders and elected officials gathered to kick-off Community Development Week at GHCC’s 29th Street Community Center on October 20, what they witnessed was community building in action. Delegates Maggie McIntosh and Mary Washington were among the group that toured the Center and met many of the young families who come every week to participate in a Sing-Along Playgroup for babies and toddlers.

“I think the center means a lot for young families and I hope all of them stay in the city because of it,” said Odette Ramos, who coordinates the playgroup as well as leads the Community Development Network of Maryland.

The event received some fantastic coverage in The Baltimore Sun, citing the 29th Street Community Center as an excellent example of how GHCC successfully strengthens neighborhoods. Take a look:

‘Not just buildings’: Center helps develop community

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It looked like a fairly standard play group: a man playing guitar, scattered toys, toddlers yanking purposefully on adult fingers and clothes. But community leaders and public officials gathered Monday at the 29th Street Community Center to show off something else that’s happening: the strengthening of a neighborhood. Read the full article here.

Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.


AmeriCorps*VISTA Spotlight: Tyler Block

The Center for Educational Outreach wants all kids to have a love of science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM.  We believe STEM education is good for the student, valuable to society, and important for the future. Tyler Block, is a VISTA member serving at the Center for Educational Outreach, he runs a robotics program at the GHCC run 29th Street Community Center. 

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I am a Baltimore native. My family has (relatively) deep roots in Baltimore. My grandfather, an 85 year old retired brick layer, could point out more buildings in Baltimore that he helped build than I could name. When I was young, my family moved from our home in East Baltimore, north to the suburbs where I grew up. While my mother continued working in the city and I maintained an idealized romanticism about Baltimore. It was never a robust Metropolis like New York or Chicago, nor is it a hub for popular affection like Philadelphia or D.C., but it is my city.

During college I studied Mechanical Engineering at UMBC with the understanding that studying any field of engineering would somehow craft me into an inventor.

That was the sole decision making process that would shape my college career. I struggled a lot through college. My failures led me to investigate why I struggled. Why were so many of my peers more prepared than I was? I would eventually catch up academically but I had a revelation; I discovered what made so many of my classmates successful. The ones that succeeded were given early extensive exposure to the careers and opportunities they would eventually pursue.

I graduated without a clear plan for how to move ahead. I was vengeful, I was Bruce Wayne in Year One fighting thugs in the streets (not really), but like Bruce I had an epiphany, only mine did not come in the form of a bat.

I was introduced to the VISTA program by one of my former professors. I saw the opportunity before me to ensure that other students had the skills and exposure to the STEM fields they will need to be successful in High School and College. During my VISTA service, I have had the opportunity to work with students of all ages, from the Middle and High school students in the Robotics program, to the Johns Hopkins undergraduates that help me at the 29th Street Community Center. It has been tremendously rewarding to see the progress the students make and the confidence they gain out of their accomplishments. My service has allowed me to impart my educational experience with the communities I serve and I am continually inspired by their eagerness to learn and their potential to succeed.

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“GHCC is currently recruiting for the second year of Tyler Block’s VISTA Position. A description of the position and links to the application can be found below.

After School Robotics Coordinator at the Center for Educational Outreach (part of the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University) in Baltimore, MD: Help middle and high school kids explore science and engineering with robots! Join AmeriCorps*VISTA and help Baltimore City achieve more.

For additional information, please contact Thomas Pfeifer at tpfeifer@strongcitybaltimore.org or 410-261-3618.”