Last week, a woman made a heartfelt plea on medium.com that the recent uptick in violent crime in her part of Baltimore was breaking her heart. Although many Baltimore residents could sympathize with her frustrations with the political leadership in the city, others were frustrated that her article was long in hand-wringing and short on thoughts on how to move forward. Aside for a plea for more beat cops in her district, the piece did not offer suggestions on how the very complicated issues of entrenched poverty and high crime rates could be resolved.
In my opinion, the root causes of these issues are a need for youth development, access to economic opportunity, and alternative spaces for community building and conflict resolution.
Typically, here at Resources Now!, we talk about ways that your project or organization can tap into the strengths of your surrounding community (geographical, interest, or otherwise), and advance your mission. Today I want to flip the script a little bit, and highlight ways that individuals can give back to their surrounding community by highlighting some Baltimore projects that look to smaller, dedicated organizations in the city that could benefit more from your work that say, a United Way.
- Start a program at your local recreation center. Recreation centers are open to programming ideas, and they are even more likely to do it if you can volunteer and lead it! Above, Baltimore resident Sabrina Bond has been working on mentoring and empowering young girls in her neighborhood through a program she started, Finding the U Within.
- Don’t want to go it alone? There just might be some organizations that you can volunteer with! If you’re interested in tackling the larger issues I mentioned, here are Some groups focused on this issue in Baltimore:
There are dozens more organizations in Baltimore that work on these systemic issues, and countless others like them working in cities nationwide. While the reach of these groups may currently be small, with additional resources and support they can make a significant difference.
- Can’t volunteer consistently? You can always organize an event to raise funds to support a cause of your choice, like Stay Classy Canton did to support a neighbor who has survived a carjacking.
- Learn a new skill, and make use of it in your neighborhood. One useful skill–both professionally and for the community at large–is mediation and conflict resolution. Community Mediation Program is an organization that provides free mediation services as well as training courses.
- Are you really passionate about taking on a specific issue? There are so many resources out there to help you get started–why not check out Campaign Consultation to see how we can help? We have considerable experience in how to advance your mission, from subjects as varied as proposal writing and organizing and mobilizing.
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