Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

University of Maryland Social Work & GHCC

Each year, GHCC hosts a Masters in Social Work (MSW) intern at our office.  This year we have been lucky to have Sarah Rogerson, who has taken a moment to share her story with us as she prepares to graduate.  We’ll miss you, Sarah!

Submitted by Sarah Rogerson

Carolina is where I call home.  I was born in Raleigh, NC, and spent six years of my childhood in Israel with missionary parents.  We came back to the states for my teenage years and lived in Murrells Inlet, just south of Myrtle Beach.  Since my family’s always been fairly mobile, it came as no surprise to them that I decided to move to Baltimore after coming home from my two-year volunteer stint in Malawi, Central Africa.  I really think it’s all this moving around that helps me adapt in personal, academic, and professional life.

A scholarship to study social work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) piqued my interest in the city.  The scholarship was offered through Peace Corps Fellows, a program for returned volunteers.  Since my bachelors degree is in social work from Winthrop University (outside of Charlotte), I was awarded credits toward advanced standing status at UMB for their social work masters program, allowing me to complete my masters in one full year.  I was also drawn to this program in Baltimore because it has a macro option, focusing on management and community organizing.  Always up for a challenge, I’d been looking to expand my experience in the urban sphere.  South Carolina and rural Malawi are laid-back areas, so I was ready for a diverse, fast-paced, action-packed city.  Enter Baltimore.

Once I arrived, I had to choose between two field placements for my MSW (Master of Social Work) internship.  I chose GHCC because of the immediate warmth I felt upon entering the office and the historically strong community connection.  I knew exactly what kind of experience I wanted: a closer look at non-profit management concurrent with hands-on organizing.

I got everything and more at GHCC.  Harmoniously, several tasks I undertook here with this well-established community organization fell in line with classes I took at UMB.  As I studied social action, I was able to join with the Baltimore Education Coalition alongside a multitude of reputable organizations in advocating for full funding for quality education in the city.  My program management class gave me the knowledge to contribute meaningfully to the strategic planning team with key board members and staff.  Finally, my community organizing class gave me the skills to help organize a parent group at the Barclay School.

All of these broad community issues are ones GHCC tackles on a daily basis, making it one of the most unique and competitive organizations of its kind in Baltimore.  If that isn’t enough, the friendly staff have become like a family to me – one I will sorely miss!  

Every aspect of my work at GHCC, though not always planned or perfectly executed, has contributed to the career and personal path I will follow.  Grounded now in community non-profit experience, I feel well-equipped to find a social work job that incorporates these elements.  As I complete my degree program and internship at GHCC, I am grateful for the opportunity to have learned so much from such a competent, driven team of staff dedicated to the continuous improvement of Baltimore City.