Become a Volunteer

picture of JHU Baltimore First volunteers meeting each other

Baltimore First General Volunteer registration is now open for Spring 2020.

As a student-led program of the Center, PDF Document: Baltimore First is an opportunity for students at all stages of the active citizenship continuum (Break Away 2014) to engage with our Baltimore community. Baltimore First offers two volunteer opportunities for student engagement: as a General Volunteer or a Site Coordinator. Learn more about becoming a General Volunteer below or consider becoming a Site Coordinator.

Still have questions? Contact the Baltimore First Student Executive Board at

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Become a General Volunteer

Why Should I Register?

Baltimore First volunteers will:

  • gain hands-on, real life experience supporting community organizations and non-profit agencies in Baltimore City, thereby launching into a career of service at Hopkins;
  • unpack the complex historical, political, and socio-cultural elements that make Baltimore City;
  • explore their own intersecting identities and how they inextricably connect to larger systems and structures of power, privilege, and oppression; and
  • synthesize their experiences by engaging in dynamic educational workshops and peer-led critical reflection.

Registration Process and Procedures

The 2020 General Volunteer registration will open January 27 at 5pm and close February 15 at 9am.

View General Volunteer Expectations


Founded in 2017, Baltimore First is a direct service organization focused on affecting transformative social change. It strives to achieve this goal by establishing volunteer commitments with community partners, where students can actively engage with social justice issues prevalent in the city of Baltimore. By providing a platform for volunteers and local activists to collaboratively address social inequalities, Baltimore First helps students better understand the city and view themselves as active citizens and community members.

Below are a set of guidelines and policies to help you understand how our organization works:

Site Attendance Policy

All members of Baltimore First select a community partner, known as a site, to volunteer with throughout the semester. A group of General Volunteers and Site Coordinators will conduct site visits on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis depending on the site in question. The attendance policy for all sites is as follows:

  • Each volunteer is permitted 2 absences from a weekly site, 1 absence from a bi-weekly site, and 0 absences from a monthly site for the semester.
  • Volunteers MUST notify their Site Coordinator at least 24 hours in advance by email if they are going to be absent, except in case of emergency. Site Coordinators MUST notify the Director of Volunteer Management.
  • Volunteers with more than the permitted number of workshop absences must meet with the Director of Volunteer Management and/or the CSC staff advisor. After this meeting, volunteers will be assigned a make-up task to complete.
  • Volunteers with more than the permitted number of absences will be at risk of probation for the remainder of the academic semester and/or year.

Director of Volunteer Management: John Frye


Educational Workshop Policy

To foster an understanding of active citizenship, Baltimore First incorporates a series of educational workshops into its volunteer program. These workshops cover various social justice issues in Baltimore and the role Hopkins students play in the community. Many workshops will feature community activists as guest speakers to present topics and lead group discussions. There will be four workshops throughout the semester; attendance for each workshop is required. The attendance policy for workshops is as follows:

  • Each volunteer is permitted 1 absence from educational workshops for the semester. Review the “Important Dates” tab to see all education workshop dates/times.
  • Volunteers MUST notify the Director of Education at least 24 hours in advance by email if they are going to be absent from a workshop, except in case of emergency.

Director of Education: Neha Gupta

  • Volunteers with more than the permitted number of absences must meet with the Director of Volunteer Management and/or the CSC staff advisor, and will be at risk of probation for the remainder of the academic semester and/or year.

Director of Volunteer Management: John Frye

  • As with the site attendance policy, volunteers with more than the permitted number of workshop absences must meet with the Director of Volunteer Management and/or the CSC staff advisor. After this meeting, volunteers will be assigned a make-up task to complete.
  • Volunteers with more than the permitted number of absences will be at risk of probation for the remainder of the academic semester and/or year.

CSC Staff Advisor: Nairuti Shastry


Members of Baltimore First are required to complete the following trainings in order to volunteer:

  • All volunteers must complete the CSC Student Training Path through Hopkins Groups before volunteering. This training must be completed at the beginning of each school year, prior to engaging in any form of volunteerism.
  • All volunteers must complete the Emergency Contact and Medical Information Form prior to engaging in any form of volunteerism.
  • Volunteers must complete any additional application(s), training, background check, or fingerprinting required of their specific volunteer site.

Track it Forward

Volunteers must log their hours through the CSC’s Track it Forward platform and are encouraged to participate in the HopServe50 service challenge program.

General Policies

In addition to Baltimore First’s policies and expectations, volunteers are expected to adhere to the following policies:

In line with our value of intentionality, Baltimore First volunteers should practice full engagement–living in line with community and program values–during service. While at service sites, volunteers should be fully present (e.g. not texting, having side conversations, etc.) respectful to community partners and other volunteers. Baltimore First also has a zero tolerance policy and should a violation occur, JHU Policy and immediate termination of membership will occur. .Students who are alleged to have violated the Student Conduct Code will be reported to the Associate Dean of Student Conduct in the Dean of Student Life Office for resolution

Important Dates

Important Spring 2020 Dates

General Volunteer Registration OpensMonday, January 27
General Volunteer Registration ClosesSaturday, February 15
Baltimore First Community Partner Site ExpoMonday, February 10
Full Program BeginsMonday, February 17
Educational Workshop 1Sunday, March 1
Educational Workshop 2Sunday, March 29
Educational Workshop 3Sunday, April 19
End of Semester CelebrationFriday, May 1

Community Partners & Volunteer Times

During Spring 2020, Baltimore First will be partnering with 8 local nonprofits and community organizations. Learn more about each organization and commitment times below.

All times include travel.

Bulldog Basketball School at the Barclay School: (Monday, 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.)

Description Bulldog Basketball School Logo.

The Bulldog Basketball School aims to advance the lives of boys and girls using basketball to inspire academic achievement, youth leadership, and community service. Volunteers will mainly be assisting during study hall, during which they will help students fill out high school applications and write application essays, work with students to complete online reading and math lessons, and help with homework. Additionally, students (regardless of their skill or experience level) will have the opportunity to assist in basketball practice and encourage their students as they practice.

Carmine Garden: (every other Sunday, 9:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.)


Carmine Gardens is a community garden in the westernmost part of Baltimore City. Obtained through the city’s adopt-a-lot program, Carmine Gardens functions with the support of the Franklintown community association, community members, and two volunteer garden coordinators. At Carmine, volunteers assist with developing garden infrastructure, assisting community members with maintaining and beautifying their plots, general maintenance of the garden, and the planting and harvesting of fresh produce, which is shared throughout the surrounding community.

Paul’s Place: (Friday, 12:30 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.)

DescriptionPaul's Place Logo.

Paul’s Place is a community outreach center designed to help the homeless and those in need. Paul’s Place provides programs, services, and support that strengthen individuals and families, fostering hope, personal dignity, and growth. Volunteers at Paul’s Place will assist in the center’s Marketplace, a clothing bank designed to provide those in need with the experience of shopping for their own clothes.

Reading Partners: (Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. – 3:40 p.m.)


Reading Partners logo with two chairs and desk.

Reading Partners mobilizes communities to provide students in under-resourced schools with the proven, individualized reading support they need to read at grade level by fourth grade. In fourth grade, students are expected to transition from learning to read to reading to learn. From this point on, they’ll use these foundational reading skills to explore and master new subjects like science, history, and geography. At this age, it is even more essential to have proficient reading skills. Volunteers will work one-on-one with students for 45 minutes twice a week, delivering a simple, proven curriculum each week to help the child begin to gain lost ground.

St. Francis Neighborhood Center: (Thursday, 2:45 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.)

Description St. Francis Neighborhood Center logo.

St. Francis Neighborhood Center, in the Spring of 2009, established an after school youth development and family stability program called The Power Project. The Power Project consists of three major components: education, mentoring, the arts, and human services. This program provides disadvantaged youth and families living below poverty in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood, ages 5 to 18, with the opportunity to receive academic enrichment, one-on-one tutoring, attend educational seminars and workshops, participate in our dance, art and music groups, and establish valuable relationships with caring and responsible individuals who will serve as positive role models in their lives.The after school program is at no cost to youth and families and is held at the Center Monday through Thursday from 3:00 to 6:15 pm during the school year with snacks and dinner provided. The program can accommodate on average, 60 children at a time. Volunteers will support all facets of the The Power Project. Volunteers will support The Power Project in all its activities and work directly with the children.

St. Mary’s Outreach Center: (Monday, 2:30 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.)


St. Mary's Outreach Center logo

St. Mary’s Outreach Center helps older adults meet the challenge of living self-sufficiently with dignity and respect. Volunteers will provide regular social support to older adults to help them remain connected to our community. Sample activities include card and board games, crafts, reading, discussing current events, and recording oral histories. When possible, volunteers will be matched with program participants with shared interests and hobbies.

Additional Requirements

Volunteers will need to complete a volunteer form and an orientation, both of which will be provided during their first volunteer session. It is also standard agency practice to do a criminal and sex offender background check for volunteers with this level of contact.

Southeast Development Corporation at Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School: (Thursday, 7:30 a.m.- 10:30 a.m.)

Description Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle school logo.

Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle school is a pre-k -8th community school in East Baltimore. Our mission is to provide all students the opportunity to reach their individual potential as positive and productive members of society by providing high quality instruction and motivational supports to students and their families in a safe and mutually respectful environment. Volunteers will work in the classroom with small groups during our “Power Hour,” a new school-wide intervention system based on helping our students fulfill their full potential, as well as providing supplemental classroom tutoring in partnership with the school’s academic coaches.

The League for People with Disabilities (Club 1111): (second Saturday of each month, 4:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m.)

Description Club1111 Logo.

Club 1111: is Maryland’s first and only nightclub for people with disabilities that includes DJs, dancing, spa, games, and much more! The Club provides a place for people within the Baltimore disability community that might not otherwise have such a social opportunity. On the second Saturday of each month, year-round, The League for People with Disabilities’ 50,000 sq foot facility is transformed into a nightclub with the capacity to serve 600+ guests. Volunteers assist with registering guests, staffing snack windows, helping out with the spa, and generally engaging participants and ensuring that each person has the best possible experience.