BALTIMORE—Today, Open Society Institute-Baltimore, the only US field office of Open Society Foundations, announces the 2022 cohort of OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows. Among the 11 Fellows is the first recipient of the Lois Blum Feinblatt Mental Health Community Fellowship, named in honor of longtime mental health counselor and OSI supporter Lois Feinblatt, who passed away earlier this year.
“After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am thrilled that we are able to name a new cohort of Community Fellows,” says OSI-Baltimore Director Danielle Torain. “OSI Fellows have been among the most effective and dedicated changemakers in Baltimore for nearly 25 years and this new group of dynamic individuals continues that tradition.”
OSI Community Fellows work to implement projects that address problems in underserved communities in Baltimore City. They receive $65,000 in stipends over the course of their 18-month Fellowships, along with insurance coverage and regular mentorship and guidance from their cohort and the network of more than 200 members of the OSI-Baltimore Fellowships Network. In 2023, OSI-Baltimore will mark the 25th anniversary of both the organization and the Fellowships program.
“As usual the range of Fellows’ projects this year is immense, although many projects deal with young people and mental health – a particularly important focus as we emerge from the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Pamela King, who has been directing the Community Fellowships program since its launch in 1998. “We’re particularly pleased to be able to name the first Feinblatt Fellow, in honor of Lois Feinblatt, who meant so much to us and OSI and in the greater community.”
Listen to OSI-Baltimore Director Danielle Torain and Pamela King, Director of the Fellowships Program, announcing the new cohort on WYPR this morning.
The 2022 cohort of OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows is listed below. Click on each name for a complete profile of each Fellow on the OSI-Baltimore website:
Monique Bess will establish The Squeegie Project as a workforce development program focused on technology with an emphasis on New Media for opportunity youth between the ages of 18 and 25.
Anisah Best will establish the ED x Tech Literacy Training Project to give older members of underserved communities greater access to educational technology resources that increase digital literacy.
Bria R. Evans will provide critical resources to the homeless by establishing Fresh Start Mobile Services, providing hot meals and showers to homeless camps throughout the city.
Christopher Johnson will use art as a tool of engagement and social-emotional development, establishing Gentleman’s Graffiti as a safe, nurturing, collaborative space for vulnerable black male youth ages 10 to 16 to engage in leadership development opportunities.
Anthony Roberts will work with nationally certified trainers and employer partners to establish Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor, where underemployed residents will be trained through a pre-apprenticeship and placed into high-wage elevator repair careers.
Michael Rosenband will work in partnership with Carver Vocational Technical High School to establish The Carver House as a work-based learning initiative designed to bridge gaps between vocational education and career opportunities by teaching green-building skills and placing students in energy-efficient construction fields.
Jessica A. Smith (Lois Blum Feinblatt Mental Health OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow) will work in partnership with the Mental Health Emergency Fund to establish the Mindful Ministries Collective to equip youth-serving organization leaders with mindfulness strategies to support mental health wellness.
Jonathan “Eric” Sorrell will establish Fernway Outdoors, using outdoor adventures to encourage young people to grow by facing challenging new environments, applying new skills, and experiencing the joys of nature.
Devan A. Southerland will establish Brown on the Spectrum (BOTS), a community focused, person centered, vocational and employment resource for individuals with autism and other intellectual disabilities.
Alanna Taylor will establish the Bronze Girl Collective to provide mental and physical health, housing, food security, career and financial stability, and educational and cultural enrichment resources to vulnerable Black women over age 40
Terry “Uncle T” Williams will establish Challenge to Change, a youth mentoring initiative targeting young people at risk of committing acts of violence in the East Baltimore community.