Everyone was on their feet—smiling, cheering. I clapped feverishly, completely floored by the hard work, ingenuity, and dedication of the Baltimore Corps Elevation awardees.
After their closing remarks, I circled around to one of the presenters, Kimberly, and gave her a gigantic hug. She introduced me to her mother, young daughter, and her best friend, who had all come out to support Kim at the Elevation Awards Showcase. Kimberly didn't stop holding my hands, and she invited me to her restaurant in South Baltimore for dinner.
For the first time, I felt welcomed into a community within Baltimore by someone who calls the city home.
This was the culmination of a year's work for seven incredible social entrepreneurs with Baltimore Corps' Elevation Awards. Kimberly Ellis owns Breaking Bread, a restaurant in the Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore, one of the city's many food deserts.
Her Elevation Awards project, Chewmanity, offers cooking classes and nutritional information, and helps families create recipe books that can be passed down through generations. Chewmanity emphasizes the humanity and power of bringing a family together to share a meal and will serve as a center for healthy food and living.
My time at Baltimore Corps was indispensable for introducing me to the nonprofit sector, fiscal sponsorship, strategic planning, and organizational objectives, and the people of Baltimore Corps pushed me to be my best self every single day. I could wake up eager to go to work because every employee believes in the vision, mission, and values of Baltimore Corps. I bore witness to the incredible humility of every single person around me. In Baltimore Corps, I found a company of peers who is dissatisfied with the status quo, and who fight to enable other social entrepreneurs to fight for their own battles in the city they love.
The Community Impact Internship Program, or CIIP, which is part of the Center for Social Concern, has allowed me to glimpse into a city full of resilience, character, and hope, and my life has undoubtedly changed in so doing.
About the author
Victoria Li is a member of the Johns Hopkins Class of 2020. Li is an international studies and sociology double major. She spent the summer serving as a Baltimore Corps operations and recruitment intern as part of the Community Impact Internship Program in Johns Hopkins University's Center for Social Concern.
Have a story to share as part of the Hub's Summer Gigs series? Email Taylor Jade Powell to pitch your idea.