Paddy Morton2

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Women United See the Future in One Girl’s Story

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Omarina Cabrera (via PBS)
Omarina Cabrera (via PBS)

Last week, United Way of Central Maryland’s affinity group, Women United, hosted its 2nd annual Women’s Forum at the American Visionary Arts Museum. Celebrating the “power of women,” this group calls on the community to create a force for change through volunteering, advocacy, networking and educational events.

The Stoop Celebrates 10 Years of Telling Tales of the Human Experience

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Jessica Henkin and Laura Wexler, creators of The Stoop Storyteling Series. Photo via coolprogeny.com
Jessica Henkin and Laura Wexler, creators of The Stoop Storytelling Series. Photo via coolprogeny.com

“Everyone Has a Story.  What’s Yours?”

On Valentine’s Day, Baltimore will celebrate ten years of its very own storytelling series, The Stoop, so named for Charm City’s rich history of stoop sitting in its many neighborhoods.  Just as row house neighbors rest on their front steps and share stories, so it is with The Stoop.  Baltimoreans from across the city come together to tell tales simply for the pleasure of the shared experience. 

Fishing for Answers: Former Enterprise CEO Bart Harvey Addresses Revitalization in Sandtown and Efforts Going Forward

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Another in our series of interviews with Baltimore’s policy makers, old and new, about how best to address poverty in Baltimore.

Bart Harvey. Photo via calvertfoundation.org
Bart Harvey. Photo via calvertfoundation.org

Frederick Barton “Bart” Harvey III, former chairman and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, has been forging a path out of poverty for low-income families through affordable, decent housing for decades.  After graduating from Harvard University and Harvard Business School, the Gilman alum (class of ’67) spent ten years on Wall Street in corporate finance with Dean Witter.  In 1984, he took a six-month sabbatical to work with Jim Rouse, volunteering with the Enterprise Foundation. He took a job at the foundation and never looked back.

Today he is recognized as a leader in national housing policy.  With his mentor Rouse, Harvey helped create the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which provides financing for affordable rental homes, and he led Enterprise’s launch of the Green Communities initiative – a green building program for low-income housing.

Fishing for Answers: Nonprofit Leader, Twice Convicted, Works to Make a Difference for Baltimore Youth

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This is the second in a series of interviews with Baltimore change makers, old and new, working in the trenches and behind the scenes for a better Baltimore.  By talking to baby boomers who have been fighting for social change since the 60s and millennials working to improve lives now, we hope to understand more about the big challenges in Baltimore, and how best to address them, from different perspectives. – The Eds.

Alan Upshur
Alan Upshur

Millennial Alan Upshur, founder and CEO of Get Out and Stay Out, can talk the talk because he has walked the walk. Born and raised in West Baltimore, he excelled in school and attended University of Maryland College Eastern Shore, but got into trouble and was convicted of felony crimes related to drugs and violence.  He has been incarcerated twice, and after his second stay, he realized what he needed was a plan to “get out and stay out.” For Upshur, that meant getting a job and finishing college.  Now 27, he is enrolled at BCCC as a fashion design major, studying to get his real estate license, and working at Lexus of Towson.

His hardscrabble experience inspired him to form the GOASO Live Life Foundation, a nonprofit mentoring program with a companion for-profit motivational lifestyle clothing and foot wear brand.  

Fishing for Answers: An Interview with Community Leader Hathaway Ferebee

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Today Baltimore Fishbowl begins a series of interviews with Baltimore’s policy makers, old and new, working in the trenches and behind the scenes. By talking to baby boomers who have been fighting for social change since the 60s and millennials making changes now, we hope to understand more about the big challenges in Baltimore, and how best to address them.

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Hathway Ferebee, executive director of Safe & Sound

Those of us who live in Baltimore know the problems of the city didn’t begin following the Freddie Gray riots. They have been around for decades. Despite entrenched problems, some people have been working on solutions for years. Baltimorean and Roland Park Country School alum Hathaway Ferebee is one of those people. A graduate of the masters program at
the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Community Planning, the community activist led the Citizens Planning and Housing Association for years before becoming executive director in 1994 of the $7 million Safe & Sound campaign, a program to ensure children grow up safe and healthy.

We sat down with the veteran community leader to learn what she thinks about what’s worked, what hasn’t and what lies ahead.

We have been working on these issues for decades. Why do you think we are still so behind?

As I see it, the reality of city life persists against the ideals that the Safe and Sound Campaign advances because so many people grow up in conditions that fail to nurture or support the human development process. That these conditions are found disproportionately in African American neighborhoods in Baltimore is a legacy from our past and persists in the way public dollars are spent despite public awareness of the injustices and the failed outcomes that result. Rather than assess the gaps in developmental opportunities and services (ex. prenatal care, early learning, educational and extra-curricular opportunities, and fair-paying jobs) our public data systems track “problems” that are the direct-result of these developmental gaps; and instead fund expensive governmental programs that generally deepen the problems they are paid to fix. Research and the city’s data highlight the failure of such systems as prisons, juvenile detention and foster care and the generational disadvantages each creates for those served.

No Skating on Lake Roland? Since When?

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Last week and the week before were really, really cold.  Cold enough to freeze Lake Roland’s shallow waters to more than a 5” thickness: perfect conditions for ice skating!  Which is just what some area residents did – groups of kids took to the ice with hockey sticks and rosy cheeks, and some adults put edge to ice, as well.  It was a joy to behold.  Good, clean fun on a freezing winter day when it was otherwise hard to appreciate the single-digit weather.

Sadly, the skaters were interrupted by admonitions from the police to get off the ice – someone had called 911.  The reason?  They were told that Baltimore County Recreation and Parks prohibits skating on its park waters.

The park rules are posted on signs at the main entrances:

Park Open Sunrise to Sunset

Alcoholic Beverages Prohibited without Written Permit

Park Permits Required for Groups

Dogs Must Be Leashed

Unauthorized Motor Vehicles and Horses Prohibited

Open Fires and Weapons Prohibited

Swimming Prohibited

Violators Will Be Prosecuted. Help Keep Your Park Clean.

(Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks.)

On the sign, there is no prohibition nor permission to ice skate, but concerned citizens — including my neighbors and me — who gathered with the Baltimore County Director of Recreation and Parks this week were told that it is, in fact, a county policy.

In College Decisions, $$$ is the STOP Sign

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I wish someone had warned them that this day was coming, or that it was going to be so hard.  Last week was college admissions decision week. By now, high school seniors have learned they have been accepted at dream schools – their dream schools.  They are also learning that they can’t go because the financial package didn’t come through or it wasn’t enough.  One of our daughter’s friends has been accepted to six selective colleges and universities, any of which she would be thrilled to attend, but the friend is likely to stay in Maryland and enroll in-state.  There just isn’t room in the family budget for the extra $55,000 for tuition and expenses, and the financial assistance she was expecting from the colleges has not materialized.  Our daughter’s friend had a certain vision for her college experience, but the financial reality has brought it into focus.

What are kids supposed to do?  What are parents supposed to do?  We teach them to reach for the stars, but sometimes, when they are lucky enough to grab one, we tell them they have to throw it back.  I feel for the kids – all those years of hard work geared toward an impressive college admission, and once achieved, rendered useless.  I feel for the parents – who are surely working hard, earning a living for their families, but unable to cover the costs of private colleges.  Something has gone terribly crooked on this road to higher education.  Sadly, the only road sign some kids are seeing right now is “STOP.”

Eighteenth Ain’t Half Bad

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If you are a little snooty about colleges, and have an undisclosed preference for private institutions, you might be surprised to learn the following:

University of Maryland, College Park is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 18th best among national public colleges and universities.  UC Berkeley is number one.  UVA is number two.  William & Mary is number six.  Okay, so we share the rank of 18th with a few others:  Ohio State, Purdue, and University of Georgia.  But 18th out of the 107 ranked?  Honestly, I was impressed!

University of Maryland, College Park was founded in 1856.  It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 26,493.  In-state tuition and fees are $8,416 (2010-11); and out-of-state tuition and fees are $24,831 (2010-11).  DID YOU READ THAT?  $8,416!  (Okay, okay…  add books for about $1,000, room & board for about $9,800, and other expenses, around $3,000, and the total cost for the in-state experience is still around $22,216 – quite literally, cheap at twice the price, compared to some of its private counterparts.)  With over 500 clubs and organizations, and 35 fraternities and sororities, there is usually something to do, including going to watch the NCAA D-1 Terps play basketball.  It is a short metro ride from the nation’s capital, and the school has numerous research partnerships with the federal government (read “job”, “transcript”, or “grad school criteria”).

Although a relatively high percentage of applicants are admitted (45%), the stats of those admitted are pretty good.  Average SAT scores of admitted applicants are pretty strong:  the 25th/75th percentiles are 580/680 for Critical Reading, and 610/710 for Math.  That means that 25% of admitted applicants have Critical Reading scores over 680, and 25% of admitted applicants have Math scores over 710.  Again, not bad!  The same 25th/75th split for UCLA?  Critical Reading:  560/680, Math:  590/720.  How do you like that?

In terms of bang for the buck, your kid can leave college with a degree in any of literally scores of disciplines, with the shirt still on his (or your) back. 

In-State Tuition Costs Out-of-State

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I heard about a cool program from a co-worker this morning.  Her child is a senior, attending public high school in Howard County, and recently accepted an offer from University of South Carolina for the fall through a program I’ve never heard of before: Academic Common Market. If you live in one of the participating 16 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia), and your home state doesn’t offer the degree program you are interested in, you can attend one of the other states’ colleges for in-state tuition price.  That can mean huge savings, as with my colleague, who will now pay $17,000 per year instead of $34,000 per year for her daughter to attend South Carolina.  It’s great for Maryland, also, as the programs offered elsewhere do not have to be duplicated here.  Click on the link above for more information.

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