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It's Standing Room Only at MLK Commemoration

Honoring the Good-Doers

Eight people received special acclaim at the 2003 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration. In congratulating the winners of this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Community Service, event founder Levi Watkins said, "One of the cornerstones of Martin's philosophy was comforting the uncomfortable." The award recognizes employees who volunteer considerable time on behalf of others in the community.

Clockwise from top left: Diane Moses, Jeffrey Natterman, Karen Kemp, Greg Fuller, John Mathew, Aaron McCown, Barbara Abdullah and Amir Ghaferi.


Barbara Abdullah
Community Service Coordinator, Department of Oncology, Hopkins University

Barbara Abdullah has earned kudos from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Morgan State University and the American Cancer

Society for her active involvement to raise funds and awareness about the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. A breast cancer survivor, Abdullah is vice president of Sisters Surviving, a non-profit organization that offers support to those who have been diagnosed and those who have lost loved ones to the disease. Abdullah also has cared for 15 foster children since 1985. Many of the kids who have called her "Mom" are special needs youngsters who have had AIDS or attention deficit disorder.

Gregory A. Fuller
Research and Writing Assistant, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine

As a senior at Hopkins' Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Gregory Fuller spearheaded the creation of the American Red Cross Corps of JHU. Now, even though he has graduated, he continues to orchestrate volunteer opportunities for the 200 or so students he recruited on both the East Baltimore and Homewood campuses. Volunteers have been trained to handle disasters and increase blood drive participation, and been briefed on the availability of community and international services. Fuller created a brochure and Web site highlighting the various activities, and established the Hopkins Disaster Action Team to respond to devastating apartment fires.

Amir Ghaferi
Medical Student, School of Medicine

As an undergraduate at UCLA, Amir Ghaferi traveled to the Mexican border to volunteer at free pediatric clinics. When he arrived in Baltimore nearly two years ago, he took up the job of revitalizing youth sports programs at the Chick Webb Memorial Recreation Center. Once the recreational programs were resumed, Ghaferi began a tutoring program at the center for elementary and middle school students. Now, 30 volunteers are helping children of all ages improve their schoolwork. Ghaferi also oversees the Dunbar/Hopkins mentoring program, which recruits School of Medicine students to mentor sophomores and juniors at the nearby high school who are interested in health care-related careers.

Karen D. Kemp
Violence Prevention Program Coordinator, Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition

The work Karen D. Kemp spearheads for Hopkins is routinely carried over into her own personal time. Having trained hundreds of social services providers on how to respond to domestic violence, she also volunteers weekly for the House of Ruth's 24-hour hotline. Seeing how music and drama have given an outlet to teens traumatized by violence, Kemp expanded the scope outside the East Baltimore community by developing the Nu World Art Ensemble, an after-school and summer program. The incorporated group, which has performed locally and nationally, uses theater arts, music, dance and script writing to help youths grapple with dating, domestic and youth violence, and sexually transmitted diseases.

John V. Mathew
Medical Technical Specialist, Department of Pathology, Hopkins Hospital

John Mathew's volunteer reach began with Baltimore youths through sports and recreational activities, then crossed two oceans as he sent clothing to those in his native India. His volunteer work started nearly 20 years ago when he began teaching his sons soccer. The informal sessions led to the establishment of a team. Now as a fund-raiser and coach, Mathew draws kids from around the region to participate in a week-long summer tournament at Polytechnic High School. His love of children also takes him to Evershine Inc., a Baltimore-based assisted-living home for children whom he often accompanies on field trips. His used-clothing drive led to the creation of a non-profit agency, Kairali of Baltimore. Working with the Indian immigrant community, Mathew led a group of 45 Kairali volunteers to work on a Habitat for Humanity project and raised money to help Indians following earthquakes and tornados.

Aaron McCown
Inventory Management Clerk, Materials Management, Johns Hopkins Health System

Using balls, nets, goal posts and green fields, Aaron McCown has become a male role model for children whose lives are usually without one. For five years, he has coached and mentored children on his 9- to 11-year-old basketball and football teams. His sideline instructions give McCown the opportunity to teach his players about respect and teamwork. Off the field, he stresses the importance of school and gives advice on how to deal with life's tribulations.

Diane W. Moses
Addiction Therapist, Department of Psychiatry, First Step Day Hospital

For more than 20 years, Diane W. Moses' compassion for those fighting drug addiction has stayed with her even when she leaves work. Moses advocates not only for those paralyzed by addiction, but for their family members who are hurt by the cycle of violence it fosters. For years, she has helped teenage girls of addicted parents to develop and pursue their life's ambitions. In her quest to help the youngest victims of drug addiction, she spearheaded a fund-raiser to purchase equipment and clothing for a youth football team. She also serves on the board of directors for the Oasis/Eutaw Center, a homeless shelter for men.

Jeff P. Natterman
Respiratory Care Manager, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Hopkins Hospital

Determined to reach out to the community surrounding Hopkins Hospital, Jeff Natterman has been the prime mover in his department's involvement with a local public school. First, he organized a fund-raiser to benefit Tench Tilghman Elementary School's reading program two years ago. Then he returned to coordinate the school's anti-smoking poster campaign, a project being used to demonstrate to children the hazards associated with smoking. The posters were displayed at the hospital's Respiratory Care Services/Environmental Protection Agency's "Healthy Lung Festival" in October.

-Mary Ann Ayd



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