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Beyond the Classroom

Student volunteers find all kinds of outlets that allow them to serve while they study.

 

Bloomberg School students seeking a break from classes have figured out lots of ways to contribute to their community and even gain career-related experience by volunteering to do everything from clean up streams and tutor school kids to renovate houses and help victims of sexual abuse. The Student Outreach Resource Center (SOURCE) matches want-to-be volunteers with organizations and programs in Baltimore, and some students seek out service opportunities on their own.

International Health PhD student Sharon Tsui found a niche at Alternative Directions, a Baltimore nonprofit that helps individuals released from prison make the transition back to their families and communities. She was paired as a mentor for two pre-teen girls who have a parent in prison.

“Kid are just a really joyful presence, and it’s nice to get to know the community that we live in,” says Tsui, who enrolled “her girls” in swimming lessons, cooked meals with them at her home and plans to help them hone reading skills this summer.

Kerry Scott, an International Health PhD student, works with the Incentive Mentoring Program (IMP), which matches Baltimore high school students with their own “family” of volunteers. The volunteers spend one-on-one time with their teen—tutoring during the week and participating in extra-curricular activities on weekends.

“We’ve had good talks about life and boys and her future, her schoolwork,” says Scott, who recently attended a pre-prom party at the home of her student. “I think she’s doing well in a lot of really important ways. We’re all really proud of her.”