Henry Ford said: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Our newest chapter, the Baltimore Chapter, is living proof of that! Chartered at the National Christ Child Society Convention last September, the group has been working since 2012 to serve children and families in the Baltimore area in a myriad of ways. Focused on three main objectives, (1) education and literacy, (2) infant care and parenting, and (3) basic needs support, the chapter has forged key partnerships with a variety of schools, in-kind donors, and community organizations that are making a real impact.
Education and literacy is the core of Baltimore’s programs and one great measure of that is that since they’ve formed they have obtained donations for and distributed 14,020 books to local children. The chapter’s “Hooked on Books” program is focused on getting books to children and encouraging reading over the summer months. Chapter “Book Buddies” read with 150 children at the Armistead Gardens School and Heritage Early Learning Center monthly over the school year, with each child receiving 8 books over the year to start their own personal libraries. Other volunteers serve as “Homework Helpers”, first at the Hampden Family Center and now at the DeWees After School Program. Beyond literacy, the chapter has provided wellness classes, including yoga and pilates as well as an anti-bullying program called “It’s Cool to Be Kind”. They delivered a “Manners Matters” program to 150 pre-K children at two schools.
But what excites me the most is the way the chapter has, from its inception, worked to bring kids into connection with role models who can inspire their career and life aspirations. For example, a friend of the chapter gave books about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to middle-schoolers, who were then walked through her life path in their career awareness program. Two recent events are the best examples. First, this April, CCS of Baltimore brought Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to the Armistead Gardens School to speak to the kids about her career path and how to secure their own; check out the short video! And just last month, the chapter brought 41 middle school students from two different schools to Washington, D.C. to learn about public service roles. They toured the capitol, learned about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, and visited Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski‘s office. There they met with one of the Senator’s aides, a 23-year old first generation American, who told the kids about her own career path.
Another thing that’s great about what Baltimore is doing is the way they not only live but tell their story—all with the purpose of gaining more support and members so they can serve more children. They’ve got a fantastic, current and interesting Facebook page where they engage their volunteers and highlight their supporters. And beyond those they partner with, others have noticed Christ Child’s work, with local county councilman David Marks honoring Christ Child Society of Baltimore’s founder Cathleen White as volunteer of the year this past fall for getting the group up and running and providing positive impact in the community.
Finally, I just loved joining Baltimore President Anne-Stuart Darrell and the chapter this past December at the tuition-free Sisters Academy for girls, where the chapter created an elaborate tea for the students and teachers to celebrate the school’s ten year anniversary, featuring an enrichment speaker on manners. I had the fun of serving tea to one of the tables of girls and they loved the tea and treats and festive atmosphere—and meeting many of the chapter members who were doing the same.
Kudos to Baltimore on a great first full year as a chapter and here’s to supporting Duluth and Denver in becoming chartered as new chapters and having impacts in these additional communities. And, more at Conference on how we can empower all our leaders to tell our story more effectively. Come join us and see!