When Maurisha White was not able to find a cheerleading program for her young daughter, she worked with other parents to create one at the local community center. That was 21 years ago, and today she remains active with the organization that oversees the center, Turner Station Recreation Council.
The recreation council, of which White is president, is located in an impoverished community, and welcomes students from Baltimore City and Baltimore County. It sponsors a free afterschool program that operates four days a week from 4 to 8 p.m., where some 300 students each month receive assistance with their homework and other support. Meals, a summer camp and a free clothing program are also offered at the community center. Students can participate in field trips, board games and rap sessions, and even a club White organized for girls called Uniquely Designed Me to help them build their self-esteem.
For the past six years, White has also organized an annual Thanksgiving feast that fed nearly 300 people this year and a brunch with Santa for over 200 children and families at Sollers Point Community Center in Turner Station.
White, who was ordained a minister last year, says it’s her purpose. “I found that I have a gift in serving, and I feel like I am operating in my gift to serve others,” she says. “Serving these young kids — building them up, encouraging them and being there for them — is a gift to me. I get paid with hugs.”
Her volunteer work also includes leadership. She is vice president of the executive board for Region 4 of Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks, and serves as secretary of Turner Station Conservation Teams.
A Johns Hopkins employee since 1994, White works as the medical office supervisor for neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. In that role, she is the main point of contact from the first visit to the morning of surgery for the patients seen by the spine and brain surgeons she works with.
White oversees her department’s adopt-a-child program, which supports two families from Johns Hopkins’ Harriet Lane Clinic on the East Baltimore campus. She also serves on the Patient Family Advisory Council.