10th Annual President’s Day of Service

Saturday, October 13th  marked the 10th Annual President’s Day of Service at Johns Hopkins University. Organized by the Center for Social Concern, hundreds of Hopkins students were randomly assigned to varying activities throughout Baltimore City. Some projects included cleaning parking lots in South Baltimore, planting trees or even pruning community gardens. Ten lucky undergraduate students were assigned to Project PLASE and dedicated their time in service to the Beacon House Square facility.

Our small but noble group painted the cafeteria walls at 3601 Old Fredrick Road. Students were greeted by Hope Sanders, our part time executive assistant, Nia Hampton our new communications specialist, Robert Dangerfield our maintenance man and Pablo Tejeda, our new maintenance manager. Hope briefly explained how we provide housing and shelter to those in need. Robert followed with detailed instructions for the day. The students enjoyed a small snack and then quickly got to work adding a fresh coat of paint to the wall. They finished the job in just three hours! It was great to have a group of committed students on site for the day.

After the day of service ended students were asked to go back to the Homewood campus and participate in a reflection with the rest of the University. Going into the 10th year, the President’s Day of Service places hundreds of students in various nonprofits throughout Baltimore hoping to help students better connect to the city through service. Many students reflected on how they’ve found themselves caught in “the Hopkins bubble”. Spending a day in the City helped them realize how much and what they owe to Baltimore City. The Center of Social Concern also offers a paid summer internship to students at participating nonprofits. Project PLASE intends to snatch up a Hopkins intern next summer!

 

 

 

 

Why I’m Pleased to Work at Project PLASE

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This story is an example of why I’m so pleased to work at Project PLASE.  Until two years ago, I lived in Charles Village, two doors up from someone named Mike.  The second day after starting to work here – last September – I ran into Mike in our hallway at PLASE, because he had come to apply for help from SSVF.  SSVF found him a place to stay very quickly, and he was pleased.  Now, a few months later, he has moved to another place nearby – and he persuaded his new landlord to get in touch with PLASE in order to get more tenants.  Mike came into PLASE yesterday and stopped by to say hello to me.  He told me that he has recommended PLASE to some other friends who need help and that the staff here are really nice and always treat him with respect.  I thought you’d like to know!

 

Barbara Larcom

Co-executive administrative assistant – part time

A Leader Finds His PLASE

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Larry was born and raised in Baltimore but was shuffled off to foster care at a young age to escape an abusive home. In the early 1980s, he contracted HIV through a blood transfusion at a hospital but was able to manage his disease. Larry overcame his troubled youth and settled into a good career in management. Larry’s career was put to a halt when he badly hurt his leg during a home accident. During a week stay at the hospital, Larry contracted an infection which caused him to lose his left leg, finger, and the shin bones in his right leg. After this traumatic event and a 17 month stay in the hospital, Larry was left without his livelihood, his home, and $1 million in medical bills. Larry, wheelchair bound, journeyed from an emergency shelter to a space at PLASE’s transitional facility with the support of a case manager.

Once he felt safe and stable, things really turned around for Larry.

Despite all he had been through, Larry instantly started reaching out to PLASE staff, volunteers, and other clients. Through these relationships, he became a member of PLASE’s Client Advisory Board (CAB) where his leadership and interpersonal skills bloomed. From the CAB, Larry took off! He completed the Taylor-Wilks Group’s Leadership Empowerment and Advocacy Program (LEAP) with honors and became involved in other community advocacy organizations like Jacques Initiative, Hope Springs, and Journey.

Larry believes in the power of advocacy. He backs this belief by offering himself up as an example: “before all this [the things he has gone through], my world was me, and I would have never told anyone about [my troubles], but it all changed when I learned how important it is to speak out—that is how things change.” His goals include becoming a counselor for people living with HIV/AIDS, teaching Personal Self-Management, obtaining permanent housing, and focusing on his medical needs (prosthesis, teeth, etc.).

Night of Monologues: More Success Stories on YouTube!

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Night of Monologues“For me, the Night of Monologues represented bravery, honesty and most of all, integrity: gifts from the soul” expressed Harriet Cooper, an audience member at PLASE’s first Night of Monologues. PLASE hosted an evening of monologues at the Strand Theater in May, 2011 to give our courageous clients an opportunity to share their honest and heartfelt stories of homelessness and more importantly, of hope. Audience members were touched by the stories of raw emotion.

The monologues and excerpts from the evening can be found on the PLASE YouTube channel. Please check out the inspirational monologues!

Want to host a PLASE speaker at your school or work? Contact our Community Projects Coordinator at 410-837-1400 X 136.