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NEWS REPORT
 






For Tri-School Students, the SOURCE

Students from the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health have long been avid community volunteers, but because each school had separate community service offices, their efforts often were duplicated.

In January, the Student Outreach Resource Center, or SOURCE, was formed to more efficiently coordinate the volunteer activities of all three schools. The SOURCE is a centralized community service center, a single point of contact for students, faculty and staff who want to get involved with neighborhood organizations and local projects. It provides staff, space and resources. It is also a clearinghouse for requests from community agencies seeking volunteers.

On the governing board of the SOURCE are faculty representatives from all three schools, including, from the School of Medicine, David Nichols, vice dean for education, and Michael Barone, assistant dean for students affairs.

—Anne Bennett Swingle

The SOURCE is located on the first floor of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Info: www.jhsph.edu/source

 

 

Med Students Showcase Neighborhood Talent
Through a talent show, students find an innovative way to connect with local residents

Year-one med student and principal organizer of the East Baltimore Community Talent Show, Shantanu Nundy.
A year ago, the Rose Street Community Center in East Baltimore approached Johns Hopkins medical students asking for help in hosting a talent show. Rose Street member Clayton Guyton wanted to find a venue in which youngsters in the neighborhood could display their talents. “They don’t get many opportunities to do that,” he said.

The students, meanwhile, saw the event as a vehicle that could not only showcase local talent, but also inform neighbors of the many resources—free clinics, after-school programs and the like—Hopkins has to offer.

On March 10, first-year medical student Shantanu Nundy and his classmates turned that vision into reality, as nearly 500 people of all ages filed into Turner Auditorium for the first East Baltimore Community Talent Show, featuring singing, dancing, poetry, rap and comedy. Lining Turner Concourse were information booths touting free health clinics, academic and tutoring groups, and community-based health organizations.

The crowd was lively. They hooted and hollered for the jazz dance performance staged by Tench Tilghman Elementary School students. They went wild as Regina Jones, of the Parent-Teacher Association at Dr. Rayner Browne Elementary School, belted out Gladys Knight’s “You’re the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me.” And when an urban dance troupe from Collington Square Elementary School took the stage, they jumped in their seats and roared.

“It was an energized crowd, and it kept growing,” said first-year student Claude Beaty, emcee for the evening along with classmate Alice Yao. “Every time we came out, there were more people.”

The attendance was robust because the first-year students had assiduously contacted community groups, recruited the talent acts and distributed tickets. Mindi Levin, director of the new Student Outreach Resource Center (SOURCE) (see box), helped with logistics.

Members of the Tench Tilghman Triumph Dancers give it their best.

In the audience was Gail Brown, a surgical tech in the Weinberg operating rooms, who brought daughters Hope, 4, and Faith, 9 months, to see their older sister, Chanel, 10, perform with the Tench Tilghman Triumph Dancers. “The show went well beyond my expectations,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Guest speaker Ben Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery, urged students to ignore negative peer pressure and concentrate on developing their natural talents—their brains. “Make sure you educate yourself and learn things in depth,” he said. “That’s how you make yourself valuable.”

Nundy has a family friend, Deepa Narayan, who is the lead author of a three-volume series produced by the World Bank called Voices of the Poor. In her work, which seeks to understand poverty from the perspective of the poor, Narayan says that rather than decide what’s best for people in need, ask them what is of interest.

In planning the event, Nundy found this to be sage advice. “We wanted to make sure community members knew about all the free health clinics run by Hopkins. But the neighborhood groups told us, That’s nice, but what I really want to know is what my kids can do after school.”

Nundy says not only did the students want the ideas to come from the community, “but we also hoped that our current community groups would start to change the way they operate by starting a dialogue with those they were created to help.”

The student organizers reached out to guests, distributing surveys to all present and talking with selected individuals to gauge the response to the show. “For many, this was the first time they had set foot on our campus. I think they left with a positive image of an institution they long feared and were skeptical of,” says Nundy. “They left thinking, You know what, Hopkins does do a lot of great things for our community. It’s full of people who care about us and are trying to help us.”

Nundy believes the East Baltimore Community Talent Show represents a rare open invitation to all area residents to come to Hopkins for an event of any type. He hopes it won’t be the last. “My hope is that this event will become an annual one, a tradition passed on from one first-year medical school class to the next.”

Karen Blum

 

 

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