CIIP Extension Blogs (Fall 2020)

Monday, September 7th from 9:00am to Sunday, December 6th, 2020 9:00pm
Charlie Nguyen

It's impossible to understand the issues facing our immigrant communities by just looking at immigration status alone. This has always been true, but during the pandemic, this has been especially clear. Although I've written briefly before about how being an immigrant interacts with race, language ability, and socioeconomic status, the last two weeks have allowed me to think about this a little bit more critically.

This week, we just wrapped up two programs: the Emergency Relief for Immigrant Families program and assisting the Baltimore Development Corporation with offering language assistance to small business owners needing help in their own language. In both of these programs, there were significant barriers that interacted with each other to prevent people from getting the resources they need. In addition to not having the language ability to fill out applications, immigration status made it difficult for some to have the correct documents to apply, and the limited access to technology only compounded the difficulty of getting applications turned in on time.

Within the next few weeks, my role at MIMA is transitioning to one where I'll be working with a second round of the Emergency Relief for Immigrant Families program, and I know that these barriers will be critical to consider, especially having the privilege of having the resources and the capacity to not face them in my day to day life. For this reason, I'll need to pay close attention to insight from those who have worked in the community to connect folks to these programs that would otherwise be inaccessible. Today, for example, community based organizations at our closeout meeting for the first iteration of the program commented that they valued MIMA's flexibility with eligibility documents, which is tends to prevent people from receiving support from other programs. As we transition into this new program, I'll need to keep these questions in mind: what can I do to make sure I'm not perpetuating barriers to access?

Made an impact between 10/18/2020 and 10/22/2020
Charlie Nguyen

It’s interesting to think about how despite working a significantly smaller number of hours per week, I actually feel a little bit more ingrained into the work being done at the office. I think it might be the fact that I understand a bit more about MIMA’s role in the community and that I’m a bit more comfortable with my own role with the projects I’m working on.

With that comes a greater understanding of what it means to work in city government and becoming familiar with the dynamics between MIMA and other entities. For example, I was intrigued to hear about my coworkers’ experiences with attending meetings with other stakeholders, where they noticed that not enough attention was being paid to immigrant issues. At the same time, they noted the importance of making sure that they are not speaking over other marginalized groups, which I imagine is a difficult balance to strike. With my current project helping to connect volunteers with small business assistance applicants, we are collaborating with a non-city government agency, and again, we have to think about how much we are contributing compared to how much they are contributing. Another part of this is thinking about what it means to have volunteers contributing time and energy versus paid employees incorporating the same roles into their work.

Also on my mind is the overlap between my work at MIMA and my experiences back home in Garden Grove: our family also applying for small business assistance right now, phonebanking to reach out to community members the same way our MIMA volunteers are, and how the community I grew up in is one where English proficiency imposes barriers to resources. And in that context, understanding the role of my privilege as an English speaker born here, as a Johns Hopkins student, and as someone with technological literacy in my current responsibilities. I cannot help but realize how strongly I feel about these issues of language access and other barriers preventing people from getting the resources they need, and I feel fortunate to be able to work with that at MIMA.

Made an impact between 09/26/2020 and 10/10/2020
Jevon Campbell

Working during the fall has been a big adjustment for me. A lot of my work has been more independent so I have tried to take advantage of that as much as possible. While I have my regular work hours scheduled during the nine to five range, I often rearrange my schedule that I have for myself so that I can do school work during the day and work sometimes at night since I would say that I am a night owl and often work at night. It has been weird not talking my supervisors and colleagues on a day to day basis, as that was something I had grown used to during the summer, but it is necessary, as I cannot be in daily meetings due to classes. I still enjoy being able to check in with my supervisor on a week to week basis though. The big task I have been working on recently is getting through editing the CodeWorks Showcase video. It has both been a painful and amazing experience. On one hand, I can be a bit of a perfectionist and editing out all the awkward pauses and "um" sounds and unnecessary phrases and adding overlays and transitions to be exactly how I want it has been challenging and long and tedious. On the hand, seeing all the amazing work the CodeWorkers were able to put together by the end of the summer in the showcase video is so rewarding. Seeing CodeWorkers who started off telling me they weren't really into coding and were just placed in the program go from that point to loving it and finding a passion in it and seeing how they can apply coding to their future careers and being one of the selected people to present for their team was very cool. Also, it is cool for my self figuring out how to use the editing program and getting really proficient at it to the point where I can do a great job editing other videos has been very gratifying.

Made an impact between 09/20/2020 and 09/26/2020 with Center for Social Concern, Community Impact Internships Program, Johns Hopkins University

Private user gave to CIIP Extension

Made an impact between 09/20/2020 and 09/26/2020
Edwin Arriola Hercules

This week I focused my energy on finding research articles on summer programs for under-represented youth. I was surprised that the number of articles was relatively small, at least compared to the number of programs I know that help minority groups in cities like New York and Baltimore. I was initially unaware of the impact that social research could have within the non-profit sector and especially in creating equity among the Latinx community. However, in reading these articles I found that one of the best parts of writing about a summer program is that you're documenting the steps you took and how other organizations could take similar steps. These research papers, much like biological journals, lay the foundation for experiments and give others the opportunity to repeat them, along with expected results. Other non-profits, who want to increase college readiness among Latinx populations, can take our research and apply it to their communities. Or they can adapt it to fit their needs and their demographics.

Along with giving others a foundation to jump from, publishing our piece will contribute to spreading awareness of the need for these programs for minority groups. The youth who took part in our program are a sample of the vast number of minority communities across the US. They are a reminder of the continued presence of Latinx communities that are underserved by the American education system. Centro SOL’s summer program shows the crucial role that community initiatives can play in shaping the mindsets and trajectories of minority youth.

Taking part in this publication and review process has been enlightening for me. As a biology major, my lens of what research is has always been limited to wet lab studies and the occasional public health review. This has exposed me to a whole new side of research-- where people, and their experiences, are the data that is shared.

Made an impact between 09/20/2020 and 09/26/2020
Yvette Bailey-Emberson

My goals for extension are more focused around understanding how the implementations of our projects affect the communities we are trying to serve and how to ensure sustainable change. My work over the summer primarily revolved around researching and developing the community plan that will include strategies for housing stability and trash reduction, but that was rather individual and felt more like something I was doing onto a community, rather than with a community. I learned a lot of valuable skills regarding data collection and analysis, but I am looking forward to being able to see how the data can be implemented into a usable plan that can push forward the community’s goals. I want to learn more about how to determine what strategies will be sustainable and how community feedback is applied to our process. I want to be able to connect on a deeper level with the community partners and understand what our role as an organization is to provide them support after we finish the plan. Working within communities that we are not directly apart of can be challenging and requires a lot of reflection and critique on how we enter these spaces, and I want to ensure that we do not give them a plan that is “how to fix yourself” and leave, but rather provide sustainable support and services that can effectively get to the root of the problem we want to solve. This will require a lot more communication with those partners and a pathway for future feedback and collaboration. As I continue my internship, I want to be a valuable asset for not just NDC, but for the greater Baltimore community. I recognize the privileges I hold, but these privileges can not be utilized if I do not find connections outside of my organization and the one project I am assisting on.

Made an impact between 09/07/2020 and 09/13/2020 with Johns Hopkins University
Sarah Abdellah

It feels surreal to start up the Fall semester once again, but now in a new virtual format. The adjustment to courses online paralleled that of my MOMCares work - as the ever-changing course schedules of each MOMCares intern, including my own, had led to a bit of a delay in scheduling our biweekly group meetings. Nevertheless, after the first week of classes were down, it was much easier to coordinate times for meetings, project check-ins, and collaborations for future projects. It was incredibly refreshing to see everyone's faces - although on Zoom - as we continue to advocate for Black birthing folks in Baltimore. During CIIP this past summer, I had created several infographics for MOMCares including: a deck of affirmation cards for our Black birthing folk in the NICU, a birthing and post-pardum doula handbook, doula project cohort, etc. These upcoming weeks of Fall Extension, I'll be continuing to combine my interests in graphic design and maternal/reproductive justice by creating infographics detailing stages of labor, signs of labor, potty training, and more to share on our social media platforms as well as handout with our Mama Minute Boxes and at the Grocery giveaways. I am very excited to see that the art I create can tell a story and change the narratives of others' lives by sharing important information in an easy to understand way.

Made an impact between 09/07/2020 and 09/13/2020
Charlie Nguyen
Reah Vasilakopoulos

Testing Extension blog privacy settings

Made an impact between 09/06/2020 and 09/09/2020
Edwin Arriola Hercules

This fall, I am hoping to expand my understanding of Centro SOL beyond my role over the summer. While I worked mainly with youth in the organization's education and pipeline program, Centro SOL also has a wide role in the community through research, health, and outreach programs. I hope to get a peek into each of these core focus areas to understand what the Latino community needs in each of these areas. My upcoming project focuses on research, specifically an evaluation of the effects that my summer program had on Latinx youth. Coming from a biology background, I found it difficult to think of transitioning into social research. However, the approach is very similar in that we are asking a question, collecting data, and making trying to make a reasonable conclusion. Working with a small team, I get to see the application process and how research gets approved by the IRB.

At the end of my summer internship, I began to think about the lack of NGOs in long island, especially those that focus on underrepresented minorities. I found this hard to believe considering my community is mostly Latinx. In the greater scheme of things, I hope that I can take the lessons I learn from my summer internship and the extension program to think about how a similar organization would work back in Long Island. What community issues would this organization focus on? Would the issues that Latinx folk face in a city like Baltimore be reflected in the suburban areas of New York? How does an organization gain confidence from the community?

Made an impact between 09/06/2020 and 09/12/2020