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Dome - A Legacy of Service

Dome January 2013

A Legacy of Service

Date: January 4, 2013

The 2012 recipients of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards will be honored during the commemoration, which will be held on Friday, Jan. 11, at noon in Turner Auditorium. They are (front): Eric Holmes, Amber Jefferson, Abby Ferretti, Scott
The 2012 recipients of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards will be honored during the commemoration, which will be held on Friday, Jan. 11, at noon in Turner Auditorium. They are (front): Eric Holmes, Amber Jefferson, Abby Ferretti, Scott Gottbreht; (back) John McConnell, Helena Zac, Anthony Gladden and Jane Marks.

In the spirit of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s commitment to making a difference for all of humanity, below are the recipients for 2012 MLK Community Service Awards, who will be honored on Friday, Jan. 11, at noon in Turner, at Johns Hopkins 31st annual commemoration of the civil rights leader.

Abby Ferretti
Graphic Designer
Johns Hopkins Health System

Abby Ferretti’s community service started unexpectedly—through her passion for running. Three years ago, she read about Back on My Feet, a national nonprofit dedicated to creating self-sufficiency among the homeless and underserved populations through running. A former college cross-country runner, Ferretti, a graphic designer in Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Office of Marketing and Communications, sprints through the streets of Baltimore three days a week at 5:30 a.m., alongside volunteers and those transitioning from homelessness. While pounding the pavement, they discuss family, friends, travel, sports and food—“without fear of judgment,” she says. In addition, Ferretti spends about 10 hours a week on the executive board of 6th Branch, an organization run by military veterans. The group has organized community cleanups and a monthly farmers market in East Baltimore’s Oliver neighborhood.

Anthony Gladden
Protective Services Officer
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Ever since he played in Little League as a child growing up in Baltimore, baseball has been an important part of Anthony Gladden’s life. Every night after work, the protective services officer volunteers as an assistant coach at Academy for College and Career Exploration in Baltimore City and puts in countless hours at a summer and fall recreation league in the city. Along with teaching them the fundamentals of baseball, Gladden, a former correctional officer, works to instill a positive attitude to take off the field and apply to life’s challenges. “I always remind the kids, you might lose the game, but you will be a winner if you put your best foot forward,” he says. The six-year Hopkins employee also volunteers at his church, St. Johns Evangelist, where he drives elderly parishioners to events, assists with janitorial work and helps with youth programs and events.

Scott Gottbreht
Graduate Student/
 Course Instructor

The Johns Hopkins University

For Scott Gottbreht, concerns about homelessness run deep: his father and grandfather were forced into it because of serious medical conditions. These days, Gottbreht studies its social and economic impact as part of his graduate studies and dedicates about 20 hours a week supporting the homeless. Gottbreht began volunteering at Our Daily Bread, where he interacts with hundreds of men and women struggling to get by every month. To give them a voice, he co-founded Word on the Street, a local newspaper that aims to educate the community about the underlying causes of homelessness. He also teaches writing at Christopher’s Place Employment Academy. Gottbreht launched Project Homeless Connect, a one-day, local resource fair, and volunteers as an adviser to Mission of Mercy, a mobile health clinic. He is co-founder and faculty liaison of Hopkins Helping the Homeless, a Johns Hopkins student group that connects students to volunteer opportunities, hosts guest speakers and organizes clothing drives.        

Eric Holmes
Senior Patient Service Coordinator
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Eric Holmes likes to tell the story where once, while volunteering at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Baltimore, a homeless man grabbed his hands and shared that he’s thankful for Holmes because he treats him like part of his family. A senior patient service coordinator, Holmes says these moments are what make service so worthwhile. A licensed minister and ordained elder, Holmes volunteers for the family empowerment ministry at Beth-El Temple Church of Christ supporting youth, adults and families with their educational, personal and career goals. He helps to coordinate trainings on financial planning, wellness education and job and vocational assistance.

Amber Jefferson
Materials Management Manager
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Through her Winston-Salem State University alumni association, Amber Jefferson found that there was a local Girl Scout troop in need in her West Baltimore community. She assumed responsibility for the popular cookie sales and eventually became a troop leader, working with the youngest scouts, Daisies. The materials management manager has served food at the Helping Up Mission and assisted the Baltimore Chapter of the Sister’s Network, a national organization for African-American women with breast cancer. As a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Rebecca Chapter ##5, Jefferson recently gathered gifts to be shipped to orphans in Africa, supplied Girl Scouts with back-to-school bags and participated in walks to fundraise for breast cancer and mental illness awareness. She also volunteers at the White House events as a tour greeter.

Jane Marks
Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Geriatric Education Center
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Growing up in a home where her mother took care of her grandmother, Jane Marks learned the importance of supporting others. A 26-year Johns Hopkins employee, who works as associate director at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, she and the geriatric division collect food items for St. Rita’s Church in Dundalk for a program that helps 200 to 300 families each week. She also helps gather food and personal care donations for patients receiving treatment from Johns Hopkins Bayview House Call, a service that provides medical care to frail, homebound patients.

John McConnell
Midrange and Mainframe Manager
Johns Hopkins Health System

As an only child raised in Indianapolis by parents who he says had little interest in his home or school life, John McConnell discovered that his calling was to instill independence and self-confidence in youth. The midrange and mainframe manager became involved with the Edgemere Sparrows Point Boy Scouts as a way to bond with his 10-year-old stepson. For the past 10 years, McConnell has volunteered in leadership positions, such as scoutmaster for Troop 427 and assistant cubmaster for Pack 722. A manager overseeing two IT teams, he’s implemented a database that streamlined the application process for merit badge counselors.

Helena Zec
Biomedical Engineering Graduate Student
The Johns Hopkins University

For two years, Helena Zec mentored a high school student who rarely went to class, had missed 45 days of school and had behavior problems. As a volunteer in the Incentive Mentoring Program (IMP), the fourth-year biomedical engineering student developed a customized plan to support the teen. The student, who was once failing, is now on two sports teams, passing every class and described by teachers as a model student. Zec spends more than 15 hours a week with the students from the Academy for College and Career Exploration in Hampden. Using a “family-style” approach to foster change in underperforming high school students, she has been an adviser to several teens whose parents were either in prison or had drug addictions.

—Meagan O’Neill and Stephanie Price

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