Last week, Community Schools advocates packed City Council chambers for an Education Committee hearing about cuts to the initiative proposed in next year’s city budget. Greater Homewood Voices just caught up with one of those who spoke out in support of Community Schools at the hearing: Gia Grier McGinnis, Assistant Director with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Concern.
Today the Baltimore Sun ran a great op-ed piece on how GHCC, among others, utilizes national service and other volunteers in Baltimore City. Though the piece focuses on our Experience Corps program, whose members logged over 144,000 hours of volunteer service just last year, this is a great opportunity reflect on the volunteers of all kinds who have shared their experience on Greater Homewood Voices.
Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Sun
- Tutors Lisa Morris and Mary Kay Shock wrote about GHCC’s Adult Literacy & ESOL Program.
- Long-time episodic volunteer Neal Gary doesn’t have a regular schedule with GHCC, but he’s happy to help whenever we need him. You can often find him helping out at major events throughout the year. We caught up with him in March to get his thoughts on his three years of volunteer work in Greater Homewood.
- Experience Corps volunteer Richard Przybyszewski enjoyed his service in Baltimore City Schools so much he applied for—and received!—a prestigious internship to teach in Poland. He wrote for us about what the experience meant to him.
- Many of our AmeriCorps*VISTA members have written about their service year on Greater Homewood Voices. Most recently, VISTA Leader Kaleema looked back on a year of ups and downs at the helm of our 16-member team.
If you’d like to volunteer with GHCC, visit our volunteer page for current opportunities.
Every week, at least one student tells me that HWC needs to meet every day, or at least more than once a week. This reminds me that the work we do matters and is appreciated, and also reminds me of the limits of our resources. Every week, I see more and more students becoming comfortable with their tutors as well as with me, more and more students getting older and more mature, and more and more tutors becoming invested in what HWC does.
Experience Corps places adults over 55 in K-3 classrooms as mentors, a model that has increased test scores and improved school climate in Baltimore City schools where the program operates. Here we hear from Experience Corps member Richard Przybyszewski, who volunteers at Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School #215 and was recently awarded an internship to teach in Poland this summer.
Submitted by Richard Przybyszewski
I spent over 20 years at Forbush High School at Sheppard Pratt Hospital, a Level 5 Special Education school. I never thought I would be setting foot in another classroom — let alone an elementary school classroom — until Experience Corps came along. It has been nearly four years now since I joined Experience Corps.
In making a decision to apply for the grant to study in Poland, it was my experience in Experience Corps that gave me the confidence to apply and realize I could offer students in Poland what I was experiencing in the classroom in Baltimore. Nothing can ever duplicate the experience of the cultural diversity at 215, along with the different levels of the students and their learning skills. Students with special needs along with students above their grade level. Then toss into the mix the learning curve I have experienced by sharing and observing with the wonderful teachers.
It is my understanding that over 700 people applied for the internship program with just about 60 applicants including myself accepted. My experience with Experience Corps became a large part of my final application.
My summer internship program is administered by the Koscziuszko Foundation, a Polish American philanthropic organization primarily for the advancement of Polish Americans and Polish culture. They have several exchange programs that last anywhere from several weeks a couple of years. Their programs range from medicine to the arts, politics, and education. I will be receiving college credit through a cooperative effort with Towson State University. My program lasts for a little over six weeks, starting in mid-July.
I start out with four weeks in Warsaw, the Polish capital, where I will be teaching elementary school students. My final weeks will be spent in Krakow, the cultural capital of Poland, where I will be teaching English as a second language to Polish high school students.
My trip to Poland will also enable me to visit relatives and do some sight seeing. The Foundation gives me a stipend along with living expenses supplied by the Polish government during my stay. I have been to Poland several times in the past, but all while it was under Communist rule. This will be my first time back to Poland as a Democracy.