Baltimore First

picture of 2 JHU Baltimore First volunteers sorting clothes at Paul's Place

Baltimore First is no longer accepting volunteer and shift lead applications for fall 2022.

Baltimore First is the Center for Social Concern’s (CSC) individualized direct service and volunteering program. Committed to fostering sustainable relationships with Baltimore-based community organizations, Baltimore First provides Service Partners with consistent and regularly scheduled volunteers throughout the course of a full academic year. In addition to their volunteer responsibilities, students are required to attend educational workshops, participate in critical reflection sessions, and engage with other community-building activities both on and off campus. Baltimore First uniquely advances the CSC’s mission by providing accessible opportunities for Hopkins students in the earlier stages of their journey to responsibly engage with Baltimore City and build meaningful relationships with their fellow volunteers.

Continue reading below to learn more about Baltimore First. Still have questions? Contact baltimorefirst@jh.edu.

Meet our 2022-2023 Student Leaders

Directors of Community Engagement

Baltimore First Directors of Community Engagement play critical leadership roles within the program by serving as the primary point of contact for Service Partners and student volunteers. The Directors of Community Engagement are responsible for cultivating strong relationships with Service Partners, supporting and building community among student volunteers, and coordinating complex logistics across service sites.

Amanda Ferber ’25 (she/her/hers)

Hometown: Boynton Beach, FL
Majors: Public Health Studies | Computer Science

Amanda Ferber is a second-generation Colombian American, and she was born and raised in Boynton Beach, Florida. She is curious about the implementation of social programs, efficacy of social policy, and the utilization of health services by marginalized groups. She aims to one day contribute to reduction of international health disparities and theorize successful interventions by leveraging policy evaluation, data analysis, and implementation science. Amanda is a member of The Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions at the Bloomberg SPH, where she works to understand health disparities as they relate to neighborhood phenomena and the broader social determinants of health outcomes. Having volunteered at Cornerstone Community Housing with Baltimore First during her freshman year, she is eager to learn more about how initiatives spearheaded by the Baltimore City Health Department, Housing Authority, and Department of Human Services can democratize comfortable lives for residents. While she has only spent one year in Baltimore so far, she has enjoyed spending time in the Mount Vernon area, especially at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Walters Museum. In her free time, Amanda enjoys singing in a choir at the Peabody Institute, playing sudoku, coding interactive games in low-level programming languages, and taking walks.

Stacey Tang ’24 (she/her/hers)

headshot of Stacey Tang
Hometown: Flanders, NJ
Majors: Behavioral Biology and Public Health

Stacey Tang is a junior from Flanders, New Jersey studying Behavioral Biology and Public Health. She has been volunteering with Baltimore First since her freshman year where she volunteered at St. Francis Neighborhood Center and served as site coordinator with Cornerstone Community Housing last year. In addition to being a member of Baltimore First, Stacey has also been involved in other CSC programming including CIIP, the In Community Interns Federal Work Study Programnd the B’More Intersession courses. The opportunities that Baltimore First and the CSC provided has allowed Stacey to expand beyond the Hopkins bubble, forming connections with Baltimoreans while learning more about the history and culture of this city. She hopes to encourage more students to immerse themselves in Baltimore, and meet new folks in the Charm City. In her free time, she enjoys going to F45 classes and making dumplings with her friends.

Ikshu Pandey ’24 (She/Her/Hers)

headshot of Ikshu PandeyHometown: East Meadow, NY
Majors: Neuroscience | Materials Science & Engineering

Ikshu Pandey is a first-generation student who was raised in Long Island, New York. Currently studying Neuroscience and Materials Science & Engineering, she is on the premed track and hopes to use her education to target inequities in healthcare, especially those faced by marginalized communities, and is very passionate about studying how intersectionality shapes a person’s perspective and experiences, both inside and outside of the medical world. Ikshu has been involved with Baltimore First since her freshman year, having worked with Club 1111 and served as a Site Coordinator for Baltimore Greenspace. At Hopkins, Ikshu is also involved with a variety of student groups and activities, such as research with the Searson Lab, the Society for Biomaterials, the Materials Research Society, and NuRhoPsi. She also enjoys surfing, learning how to play the guitar, and exploring Baltimore’s restaurant scene in her free time. As one of the Directors of Community Engagement, Ikshu is excited to introduce students to how they can continue participating in active citizenship while at Hopkins.

Directors of Education & Reflection

Baltimore First Directors of Education & Reflection play critical leadership roles within the program by serving as the lead trainers and facilitators of student volunteers. The Directors of Education and Reflection are responsible for implementing the CSC’s education curriculum by hosting workshops and trainings, coordinating service-learning opportunities for volunteers, and cultivating a culture of critical reflection among the cohort

Sai Chandan Reddy ’23

Headshot for Sai Reddy

Hometown: Plymouth, MN
Majors: Neuroscience and Chemistry

Sai Chandan Reddy is a first-generation Indian American, and although he was born in America, he has lived all around the world—from Cape Town to London—as a result of his father’s job. The place he calls home is Plymouth, Minnesota, where he has been living for the last decade. His academic focus over the past three years has been understanding the workings of the brain, inside and outside of the classroom, and he hopes to pursue medicine in order to truly touch people’s lives and entire communities while continuing the path of discovery he has begun at Hopkins. Outside of school, Sai has many interests. First and foremost, Sai is a vocal proponent of community engagement as a means to be partaking in enriching experiences, making a positive impact on your local community, and working with others to be a part of something greater than the sum of its parts. He hopes to continue his community work as a physician. Sai also enjoys reading when he gets the chance to, and he is an avid cinephile. Ultimately, Sai is looking forward to using his unique experiences to serve on the Executive Board as a Director of Education & Reflection

Samantha Sarlin ’24 (she/her/hers)

headshot of Samantha Sarlin
Hometown: Houston, TX
Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology | Minor: Music

Samantha Sarlin was born and raised in Houston, TX, and she is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree from Johns Hopkins University. Following graduation, Samantha plans on attending medical school due to the great passion she holds for both medicine and pathology. With her time spent at JHU thus far, Samantha has had the pleasure of becoming involved with a multitude of organizations, ranging from those tied to the Center for Social Concern (Baltimore First, Project Finish to Start, YO! Baltimore Tutoring Project) to academic societies (Women’s Pre-Health Leadership Society, TriBeta Biological Honor Society, NuRhoPsi) to recreational organizations (JHU Dragon Boat Club). Outside of class and engaging in research, Samantha enjoys exercising, spending time with friends, binging Netflix shows, and exploring the many amazing restaurants that Baltimore has to offer. Samantha has had the privilege of becoming well-acquainted with Baltimore since moving there in January of 2021, and she looks forward to continue forming meaningful connections with Baltimore natives and residents in the future. Samantha can confidently say she now equates home to both Texas and Baltimore city as a result of her cherished time spent in Baltimore.

Aamilah Chowdhury ’24 (she/her/hers)

headshot of Aamilah Chowdhury
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Major: Biomedical Engineering | Minor: Psychology

Aamilah Chowdhury was raised in Dallas, Texas, and is currently majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Psychology. Aamilah has a personal mission of mobilizing more students to engage in community service thoughtfully. Aamilah maintains this mission through her other extracurriculars, such as HopkinsCORPS (another program at the Center for Social Concern!) Aamilah is strongly motivated by her experiences with volunteering in the low-income sectors of Dallas. She hopes to continue helping the community as a now Baltimorean! Aamilah loves thrifting, Netflix binge-watching sessions, and making oddly specific playlists on Spotify. She also enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and makeup.

Service Partners & Volunteer Times

During 2022-2023, Baltimore First will be partnering with six Service Partners, local nonprofits and community organizations. Learn more about each organization and commitment times below.

Note: Service partners notated by (*) include working with minors.

Baltimore Green Space (in-person service, Saturdays)

Baltimore Green Space logoDescription

Baltimore Green Space is Baltimore’s environmental land trust. They promote vibrant neighborhoods and a healthy environment through land preservation, research, and community advocacy. Green spaces provide unmatched opportunities for recreation, civic engagement, and community revitalization, and it is essential to retain existing natural spaces that have ecological value and biodiversity. Scientifically documented social, health, environmental, and economic benefits that create strong neighborhoods and a vibrant city. Volunteers will work to revitalize a neighborhood forest called Wilson Woods.

Volunteer Hours

Volunteer shifts are in-person, every Saturday from 10am to noon, contingent on weather conditions. Please be advised that these volunteer hours do not include travel time!”

*Corner Team, Inc. (in-person and virtual service, Mondays and Wednesdays)

corner team logoDescription

Corner Team, Inc. is organized around the longstanding and successful tradition of community sports programs that address holistic well being at the neighborhood level to shape Champions for Life! Volunteers will partner with students grades 6-12 in the Youth Champions after-school program to help students set and achieve goals. Volunteers meet with students twice a week to engage students and provide academic support that will supplement the boxing training and other programming provided at Corner Team.

Volunteer Hours

Volunteer shifts are twice a week on Mondays (virtual) and Wednesdays (in-person) from 4:30-6pm. Please be advised that the Wednesday hours do not include travel time. All volunteers will be required to complete child safety requirements before starting service.

*Reading Partners (more information coming soon)

Description

Reading Partners is a national nonprofit that mobilizes communities to provide students with the proven, individualized reading support they need to read at grade level by fourth grade. They support under-resourced schools and engage volunteer reading partners to work one-on-one with students who struggle with reading. Volunteers will provide hour-long tutoring sessions to students — following a structured, evidence-based curriculum developed with an expert team of curriculum advisors.

Volunteer Hours

More information coming soon.

*St. Francis Neighborhood Center (in-person service, select Thursdays)

St. Francis Neighborhood logoDescription

St. Francis Neighborhood Center is committed to ending generational poverty through education, inspiring self-esteem, self-improvement, and strengthening connections to the community. By utilizing education, art, mentoring and tutoring, they work to provide guests with the tools they need to advance their lives financially and socially, while fostering positive interpersonal and community connections. This in turn gives people a sense of self-empowerment, which is the principal driving force in creating extraordinary change within individuals and the community. Volunteer activities will likely include bringing special skills to an afterschool activity club for younger, low-income children in Reservoir Hill & Penn-North.

Volunteer Hours

Volunteer shifts will be on select Thursdays from 4-5:30pm starting in mid-October. Please be advised that these volunteer hours do not include travel time. All volunteers will be required to complete child safety requirements before starting service.

Paul’s Place (in-person service, Thursdays)

Paul's Place Logo.Description

Paul’s Place aims to be a catalyst and leader for change, improving the quality of life in the Southwest Baltimore communities. They provide programs, services, and support that strengthen individuals and families, fostering hope, personal dignity and growth. Volunteers will help serve hot lunch, staff the clothing bank, and possibly work with patrons in the computer lab.

Volunteer Hours

Volunteer shifts will be Thursdays from 11am-12:30pm. Please be advised that these volunteer hours do not include travel time.

Earl’s Place/Cornerstone Community Housing (in-person service, Mondays)

cornerstone community housing logoDescription

Cornerstone Community Housing has a twofold mission to help men experiencing homelessness rebuild their lives, and to change attitudes toward homelessness through outreach and education. Earl’s Place provides transitional housing and supportive services to 17 men at a time. Annually, 30-35 men are provided housing and support to work on their goals. Volunteers will work with residents of Earl’s Place to help them improve their digital literacy skills by supporting them as they learn to navigate computers, mobile phones, email, and other technology.

Our digital literacy curriculum is supported by TechUp, a program under Enactus JHU. Learn more about TechUp at https://www.enactusjhu.org/techup.

Volunteer Hours

Volunteer shifts will be Mondays from 6-7pm. Please be advised that these volunteer hours do not include travel time.