Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Jump for Joy at the 29th Street Community Center

IMG_4026The 29th Street Community Center is incredibly privileged to have Charles Village resident Kim Landes as a program provider and leader of Jump for Joy. She brings energy, determination, and joy to kids and adults alike.

Jump for Joy is much more than a jump roping program, it’s a joyous story about community. It all began when Kim Landes, a Charles Village resident, got a knock on her door one sunny summer’s afternoon last year. Who was at the door? Four Barclay Elementary students who were selling canned goods to make money for after school snacks. Kim offered them a snack and got to know a bit about them on her front porch. After a few weeks of the students returning to her house, Kim decided to do something constructive and bought some jump ropes for them to play with. Before she knew it there was a full blow jump roping club happening at her house.

Recognizing how excited these kids were about jumping rope, Kim set out to find a jump rope club to connect them with. Though she couldn’t find anything in Baltimore, Kim discovered Kangaroo Kids in Ellicot City, a competition jump rope club for kids age 5-18 which has been serving Howard County for 35 years. After learning more about the program in Howard County, Kim decided to start one of her own right in her neighborhood.IMG_3984

As the program took off, Kim and her students needed a space to build a team. Though she didn’t know much about the 29th Street Community Center, the Barclay students had spent time there after school and told her about its great space. It didn’t take long for Kim to connect with center director Hannah Gardi, and the two of them began to work together to create Jump for Joy: an innovative jump roping program that teaches leadership skills and nurtures self esteem.

IMG_4092Jump for Joy meets on Saturdays from 11-12pm and has already served more than a dozen kids. We have volunteers from JHU and Kangaroo Kids that come out each week to work with our jumpers. This last weekend, seven jumpers participated in a tri-state jump rope festival hosted by the Kangaroo Kids. Man, oh, man, were our kids inspired! Watching kids of all ages perform jumps, flips, and spins at advanced levels has moved them to learn more and keep on training.

The spring programming season at the 29th Street Community Center starts on Monday. Click here to see a full list of classes and to register.

Neighborhood leaders see value in social media

At the Neighborhood Institute in March, one of our most popular workshops was Samantha Armacost’s ‘Social Networking with Your Neighbors.’ Sam shared tips on how to effectively use social media in a community setting, including sites like Twitter, Facebook, and NextDoor – a new social networking site designed for communities. In response to the workshop’s popularity, GHCC’ most recent Neighborhood Leaders Forum focused on community communications strategies, including NextDoor.

NLF 4.10.13

On April 10, community leaders from Harwood, Lake Walker, and other north central Baltimore neighborhoods gathered over pizza to share their concerns and strategies for better communication among neighbors. GHCC Community Organizers Ira Kowler and Hannah Gardi shared examples of successful flyers and newsletters from several communities, while Medfield Community Association President Cindy Cabales gave a demonstration of her neighborhood’s NextDoor. Many participants said their community had various listservs or websites to communicate information, but were surprised by the wealth of features on NextDoor. Some features that excited participants included the ability to see what houses have been invited to the site, the ease with which they could send messages to neighbors, and the ability to create and manage community events. All participants left the Forum with a commitment to either create or expand their neighborhood NextDoor site.

If you would like more information on the Neighborhood Leaders Forum, NextDoor, or GHCC Neighborhood Programs, please contact Lead Community Organizer Ira Kowler at 443-814-9206 or