Last week, the 2020 cohort of OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows gathered to mark the end of their 18-month Fellowship and enter into the network of alumni fellows. The event was hosted by 2016 Fellow Eliseba Osore and 2009 Fellow Dwayne Hess, co-chairs of the Fellows Advisory Board, which works to build the strength of the fellows’ network and organize for collective action.
Dwayne and Eliseba shared the benefits of being connected to the fellows network, and each fellow shared ways they benefitted from the fellowship, their next steps, and whether or not their fellowship project will continue. A few of their updates are below.
Elizabeth Finne, founder of the Parole Preparation Project, described the organic growth of the project’s Board and funding. The project is now embedded with PIVOT, an organization founded by 2018 Fellow Emily Thompson.
Atiya Wells, founder of Baltimore Living in Sustainable Simplicity (BLISS) Meadows, talked about building the project’s infrastructure and current work rehabbing the house located on the organization’s farm. Check out the great feature on Atiya’s project from the National Audubon Society.
Troy Staton, founder of More Than a Shop, has expanded the program to 18 barber shops, two boxing gyms, and a community resource center, and works in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the Health Department, and the Center for Disease Control to provide COVID information.
E.V. Yost, founder of the Queer Crisis Response Unit, said the organization recently join the Rahim Patch Network to work around the issue of police violence with an app that helps address crisis response. The program launches a training program in May.
Bree Jones, founder of Parity, said the fellowship was invaluable and that it “rewires the brain,” not having to worry about salary and living expenses. Parity will hire five new people as a result of a grant from JP Morgan.
James Henderson, founder of Pathways to College or Entrepreneurship, said the organization has recently re-started its in-person college tours, after switching to virtual tours during the peak of COVID. He has established partnerships with United Way of Central Maryland, Behavioral Health Systems’ College Readiness Bootcamp, and Child First Authority.
Ateria Griffin, founder of Building Our Nation’s Daughters, Inc. (BOND), says her organization will move into new offices in June and renewed its partnership with Lillie Mae and Marshall Pedestal Gardens. The first BOND member retreat takes place in June.