I have been known to use the term “best friend” throughout many conversations. You might hear me say “My fish is so cute, he’s my best friend,” or I even might designate a BFF status to a favorite book. Well, one of my best friends used to be my GPS. That device guided me to so many places, causing me to develop a false belief that I was a skilled explorer of the state. This dream was crushed when my so-called best friend decided to permanently break a few months ago. I was devastated, to say the least, but realized this would give me a golden opportunity to truly learn about so many new lands, including Baltimore, where I have lived since September.
While I am a native Marylander, my knowledge of Baltimore was embarrassingly limited for the majority of my life. For the most part, my points of reference were the Inner Harbor and a giant glass pineapple my friends and I noticed on top of a building while we cruised down I-95. Since the fall I have become no tour guide of B-More but can navigate from the north to the south of this great city with much more ease.
I’ve gained this new-found knowledge not from random bursts of adventure-seeking but from visiting and learning about the communities AmeriCorps members serve in. Five of the members in my region work in areas scattered across Baltimore city and county, serving diverse populations of people and the environment. As I continue to learn about this area, it’s interesting to observe the needs of various sections of Baltimore. While Pigtown, Highlandtown, and Reservoir Hill are all examples of the collective area of Baltimore, each neighborhood has such a distinct feel and identity.
Next Friday I will be hosting a monthly regional meeting in Canton, a neighborhood in southeast Baltimore city. We were generously given a meeting space at the Firehouse Coffee Company (yum!). Supposing we’re not going to be attacked by another ferocious blizzard, it will be a nice time for all of the AmeriCorps members in my region to get together and reconnect, re-energize, and share resources. Every month I try to host these meetings in either Baltimore or a location on the Eastern Shore, the two main areas the members are located.
We are planning to discuss various topics, including virtual volunteering and the “Give a Day, Get a Day” campaign from Disney. We are also going to be taking some time do some revisions on our resumes. While we’re about to reach the mid-point of the year, it’s crazy to think that time has passed by so quickly and that soon we will be needing to think about the next step in our lives.
Hopefully I’ll have more locations set up for future regional meetings, which will also allow me to continue learning more about Baltimore. Maybe Baltimore will be my new best friend?