Change Agents: OSI Announces Its 2013 Fellows

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The Open Society Institute -Baltimore today announces its 16th annual class of community fellows. The program, which began in 1998, has had an enormous impact on the city. The newest class of 12 fellows will join a network of 136 other leaders, most of whom continue to bring fresh energy and ideas to effect social change in Baltimore.

Each of the fellows will receive $60,000 to work full-time for 18 months, implementing strategies to assist and revitalize Baltimore. The group will work in schools and courts, in recreation centers and low-income housing units and other places around the city. Many will work directly with people on the streets of Baltimore.

OSI-Baltimore has designated two of the fellows as Black Male Achievement (BMA) Fellows, who will strive to reach some of the city’s most underserved populations: black men and boys. Matthew Hanna and Ulysses Cofield will receive additional recognition from the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement, a strategy to address the exclusion of black men and boys from economic, social, educational and political life in the United States.

The Class of 2013 includes 12 people with extremely diverse backgrounds and a wide range of proposed projects. A veteran health educator will work with young men living with HIV; a paralegal who spent time in the foster care system will work with teenage girls, a health worker will help free girls and women from sex trafficking, to describe just a few of the projects. Read details of the 12 projects below.

A seven-person committee selected the 12 fellows after extensive evaluation, including peer reviews, site visits and interviews.


Katheryn-Kate-Anderson_DSC7004Katheryn Anderson – Lawyer – Citywide
In partnership with the Maryland Disability Law Center, Anderson will establish a self- governing and self-sustaining advisory committee that will engage people with disabilities in the process of using their legal rights to advocate for equal access to publicly provided or regulated transportation services.



Bernice-Bishop_DSC6826Bernice Bishop – Medical Secretary – Citywide
Bishop will establish the Women Empowering Women Education and Outreach Center as a resource to provide comprehensive services to assist vulnerable women with issues related to poverty, homelessness, and addiction. The program will help women strengthen their family dynamics as well as offer an opportunity to improve upon educational and employment development skills.



Ulysses-Cofield_DSC8570**Ulysses Cofield – Sports Coach – East Baltimore

In partnership with Fort Worthington Elementary School and the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Cofield will engage East Baltimore youth in after school opportunities, including homework, sports teams, woodshop, and field trips, that provide a safe haven from violence, gangs and street life.



Lanaea-Featherstone_DSC7806Lanaea Featherstone – Director of Development – Citywide
In partnership with the Patterson Park Public Charter School, Featherstone will use computer literacy workshops and a mentoring program as tools to help Latino immigrant parents and guardians to increase their employment opportunities and to enhance their capacity to support their children academically. The project will serve as a model that can be replicated in other areas with large immigrant populations.



Matt-Hanna_DSC7522**Matthew Hanna – Teacher – Citywide
Hanna will establish Next One Up, a tutoring and mentoring program designed for underserved middle and high school youth for whom engagement in sports may be the key to their academic and collegiate success.




Megan-Leschak_DSC7093printMegan Leschak – Social Worker – Citywide
In partnership with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, Megan Leschak will establish a pre-trial court diversion program designed to reduce recidivism rates by directing eligible clients from judicial proceedings to trauma-informed clinical treatment.




Jessica-Lewis_DSC6505c_ppJessica Lewis – Community Organizer – Citywide
In partnership with the Right to Housing Alliance, Lewis will work with low and moderate income tenants and homeowners to build a grassroots movement for the human right to housing and will organize around high housing costs, substandard rental units, foreclosures, and displacement.




Melissa-Moore_DSC7995printMelissa Moore- Designer/Artist/Educator- Greenmount West

Moore will establish the Youth Learning Lab for Education and Applied Design (Y-LLEAD), an after-school leadership program that will encourage and train Baltimore Design School students and youth in surrounding neighborhoods to use design to develop and implement community projects.



Emily-Schappi_DSC7641Emily Schappi – Paralegal/Law Student – Citywide
In partnership with the Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center, Schappi will establish Fostering Second Chances to address the needs of foster youth girls returning to the community from detention centers and residential treatment by providing post-release support.




Bill-Tiefenwerth_DSC8201Bill Tiefenwerth – Community Relations – West Baltimore
In partnership with the James McHenry Middle School, Tiefenwerth will establish Veterans in Partnership to engage unemployed or underemployed veterans as mentors to provide support and guidance to young people in school and after-school programs. The initiative also includes services to help veterans improve their own career options.


Andre-Turner_DSC7480printAndre Turner – Public Health Educator – Citywide

In collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Pediatric & Adolescent HIV/AIDS Intensive Primary Care Clinic, Turner will establish Boys Coming of Age, a Rite of Passage, manhood development program for adolescent males with behaviorally acquired or perinatal HIV.



Denene-Yates_DSC7886ptintDenene Yates – Public Health Advocate – Curtis Bay
Yates will build on her work with the Safe House of Hope in the Curtis Bay community to assist sex trafficking victims and those engaged in prostitution in their efforts to become vital, healthy members of the community.




Since its launch 15 years ago, the Baltimore Community Fellowships program has received support from OSI-Baltimore and several other foundations and individuals, including The Clayton Baker Trust, The Lois and Irving Blum Foundation Inc., the Cohen Opportunity Fund, The Marion I. & Henry J. Knott Foundation, the John Meyerhoff and Lenel Srochi Meyerhoff Fund, the Moser Family Philanthropic Fund, The Osprey Foundation, the PNC Foundation, the Alison and Arnold Richman Fund, The Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, Barbara K. and M. Sigmund Shapiro, Samuel I. Rosenberg Fund, The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund and numerous individual donors.

**OSI-Baltimore Campaign for Black Male Achievement Fellows

Edited from Press Release

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