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Kelly Koay, 2018 MLK Jr. Community Service Award Recipient

Kelly Koay, 2018 MLK Jr. Community Service Award Recipient

Johns Hopkins Community Physicians doctor Kelly Koay's efforts to bring humility and inclusiveness to East Baltimore communities earned her the award.

Physician Kelly Koay relocated from Nashville in 2017 to join Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, and it didn’t take her long to become involved in the East Baltimore community.

Shortly after her move to Baltimore, Koay noticed some of the challenges that the city’s residents experience. “I had more of an introduction to the types of racial and socio-economic inequalities that exist in parts of the city that separate us as a community,” Koay says. “I wanted to empower individuals and neighborhoods so they can see themselves as powerful agents of change.”  

In response, she helped developed free weekend classes for children, focusing on teaching virtues such as kindness, humility, love and equality. Koay holds the classes in East Baltimore and welcomes any children interested in such lessons.

The classes are based on Koay’s practice of the Baha’i faith, which is grounded in the elimination of all prejudice in order to promote self-improvement and contribute to the advancement of society. She feels this is a vital and relevant lesson for Baltimore City, which is why she seeks children of all backgrounds to help them find common ground.

While children tend to be more open to learning these virtues, she insists that no one is too old to begin empowering themselves.

As the class continues to grow, Koay looks forward to collaborating and learning from volunteers and children alike as she continues to enable Baltimore families with her vision for a tightly knit community.

 

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