Increasing legal representation and opening up park space are just a couple of the goals being pursued by a new group of Open Society Institute-Baltimore community fellows.
Baltimore is home to the only field office for the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. program. The 20-year-old fellowship program seeks to support community leaders creating new approaches to serving marginalized communities, according to OSI. Fellows receive $60,000 over 18 months as they work to implement their projects.
The latest class, which was announced Tuesday night, brings the network to 200 fellows.
Here’s a look at the members of the class and their projects, according to OSI-Baltimore:
Graham Coreil-Allen plans to launch the Druid Hill Complete Streets Project, which aims to increase transportation access for pedestrians, bicyclists and people with mobility devices in an area where commuter traffic was historically prioritized.
Ciera Daniel is establishing Young Kings Leadership Academy. The after-school leadership development program will look toto counteract negative stereotypes and inspire service among African American boys at City Springs Elementary/Middle School in East Baltimore.
Eric Fishel founded Baltimore Foodparks to transform vacant lots into mixed use parks using native edible plants to benefit local humans and birds. Fishel is also planning educational events to introduce job opportunities.
Jennay Ghorwral created REMIND to improve legal representation for people facing mental health challenges as they navigate the criminal justice system. The program will train defense attorneys to improve understanding and communication.
Shelley Halstead is teaching black women carpentry skills during rehabilitation projects in Upton through Black Women Build-Baltimore. The program aims to provide education about construction skills and building wealth through homeownership.
Ava Pipitone is addressing housing instability in the transgender community with HostHome. The community-owned housing platform allows hosts to provide temporary housing for people in distress.
Aarti Sidhu seeks to provide legal representation to Baltimore school students in suspension and expulsion proceedings under the banner of Represent Youth: Baltimore School Justice Initiative. The program also provides education to families about their rights.
Emily Thompson is addressing the gender gap in re-entry programs with PIVOT, which serves Baltimore city women who are returning from the criminal justice system.
Fred Watkins created Lil Laughs to increase self-esteem among students. The programming uses entertainment, and emphasizes building confidence as well as de-escalation. More on Watkins’ work here.
Brittany Young is harnessing dirt bike culture as a vehicle for STEM education and job opportunities for youth with B-360. The program also seeks to change negative perceptions of dirt bike riders. Read about her work in Technical.ly.
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