About

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Groups

  • Johns Hopkins University

  • Center for Social Concern

  • CIIP Spring 2021 Alternative Program

  • Community Impact Internships Program

  • CSC Student Organizations

  • St. Francis Neighborhood Center

  • Alpha Phi Omega Kappa Mu

  • CIIP 2021

  • Impacts

    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    Welcome to Waverly Main Street! I'm Lucas Rozendaal, I just finished my internship here. I had a tremendous experience at Waverly Main Street and learned so much; I'm sure you will as well.

    Working at Waverly Main Street has been a pretty unique learning experience in that it's such a small organization with only one full-time employee and one part-time employee. I found that to be a really great opportunity because it allowed me to take ownership of some of my projects than I might have been able to at a larger organization, but it has its own challenges as well. It's extremely important to set up regular check-in times with your supervisors and with other relevant persons for each project, and to figure out a way of communicating with them regularly outside of those meetings to make sure everyone stays in the loop. For myself, I found texting with my supervisor to work better than emailing for quick questions and follow-ups, so that might be a helpful avenue to try. Moreover, since you have so much ownership over your work, be sure to take personal responsibility over keeping the ball rolling and making sure that deadlines are being set and met. Everyone in the Baltimore non-profit scene is pretty busy, so you need to be the one reaching out and being assertive about what you need to move forward on a project. Proactivity goes a long way--people might take a while to get back to you, so if you reach out to them early, you don't risk projects getting dragged out. In the same way, if you can make as many decisions and get as many questions as possible answered up-front, there's less of a risk of that process becoming dragged out over days or weeks. I know that's a lot and it sounds kind of scary, but
    you'll get the hang of it before you know it! Just push and keep pushing!

    You can contact me at 703-517-0182 or at lrozend1@jhu.edu or at ldrozendaal@hotmail.com. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need some advice or if you just want to say hi!

    Made an impact between 08/01/2021 and 08/07/2021
    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    This summer, I interned at Waverly Main Street, a community development nonprofit that supports the merchants of the Waverly Commercial District and promotes Waverly's economic revitalization.

    I started my internship at Waverly Main Street by updating the non-profit's commercial property index. Waverly Main Street can't properly serve the merchants in Waverly without the knowledge of which merchants are there, so I updated the old index to reflect openings/closings since Spring. I also added hours, contact information for most of the businesses, and whether they were in good standing, so that Waverly Main Street would have a better sense of what the needs of the community were and how to reach out. Shortly before I arrived for the Summer, Waverly Main Street began a bi-monthly newsletter to keep the merchants in the community informed about grants they may be eligible for, construction and development updates, relevant city-wide policy and regulation changes they might have missed, and other Waverly news. I drafted the newsletter's August edition. Waverly Main Street doesn't have a lot of personnel and tends to do a lot of high-level work, so it can be hard for us to build relationships with community members directly. The newsletter was a small but simple way to reach out to the Waverly merchants and other non-profits and stakeholders in the community and keep them informed about what we were up to. The project on which I spent the most time, however, was the redevelopment of a lot owned by Waverly Main Street into a community garden and event space called Waverly Commons. I researched Water Access programs to facilitate expansion and preservation of the garden. I evaluated signage companies and looked into design options for shading and shade sails to provide event attendees and performers in the music series with shade coverage. I also personally worked on remulching the majority of the Commons space with fresh mulch to support site beautification. Watching the space's progress over the course of the summer was immensely satisfying, and the experience taught me such much about project management and communication on projects with many external stakeholders and outside parties.

    Made an impact between 07/21/2021 and 07/26/2021
    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    If anything, Waverly Main Street's mission can be frustratingly limiting at times in terms of opportunities for intersectional work. As a part of the main street program, Waverly Main Street's work and, in particular, the funding for Waverly Main Street's work is very specifically targeted towards community and business development in the Waverly neighborhood. Obviously, the performance of that work effects other areas and there are other needs in the community that need to be, but my understanding is that Waverly Main Street simply can't apply its funding in those areas without effectively ceasing to be a Main Street and losing the support of the nationwide Main Street program. As an example, there's a big need for housing support in Waverly already, and the need will only increase as Waverly Main Street does its job and promotes the business community in the neighborhood and attracts more business to the area. Waverly Main Street needs to be mindful of that and be careful not to make the problem worse, but they can't be the ones to provide that direct support because the funding just isn't there (or rather, just can't be applied in that way). The organization is in the process of drafting a long-term strategic plan outlining its goals, so it needs to come up with an answer to those questions even if direct support can't be that answer. In all likelihood, the answer will come from collaboration with other community organizations and in bolstering other programs even if we can't be the ones to provide that direct support. Also, the Waverly Main Street newsletter can highlight housing programs and spread information of that kind as a way of showing consideration for those issues even though we don't currently have a particularly good way to assist with those problems directly.

    Made an impact between 07/21/2021 and 07/24/2021
    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    This week was a little rough due to some illness and a little bit of messiness in my personal life, but I still got a lot done. I finished the first draft of the August newsletter and asked various other community organizations and government contacts if they had any information they wanted to promote specifically. I checked in on the status of the water access and am hoping to get that installed by next week. The signage installation was unfortunately delayed, but I'm hoping that both that and the mulching of the lot can be finished on Monday morning; I updated the WMS business index again, this time adding whether the businesses in the neighborhood were or were not in good standing--an unfortunately hard metric to track down given how many businesses aren't properly listed online, but it's an important step to diagnosing and improving the business health of the community. It took a little while to get in contact with the shading company, but I'm hoping we'll be able to set up a meeting with them next week.

    Since my internship has been focused so specifically on the Waverly Commons space, I've learned a lot about project management. In other words, I've gotten better at learning how to break a project down into realistic goals and, in particular, about how to plan those goals around other people. Much of the work that needs to be done on the Waverly Commons was dependent on input or support from contractors or external parties and also required board approval--learning to how to manage those parties and keep momentum moving on my projects has been challenging, but I definitely think I'm more comfortable with it as the summer comes to a close. I'm sure that's a skill that will be invaluable going forward.

    Made an impact between 07/14/2021 and 07/15/2021
    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    Before I get into how my goals have or haven't changed, a little update on my work in the past week! This week, I've been concentrating on the August edition of the WMS newsletter. It's been a project that I've been aware of since the beginning, but I didn't really feel like there was much of a point to collecting information on it before July, since a lot of the information from June wouldn't be relevant for the August edition anyway. It feels great to finally starting pulling information and watching it come together. My supervisor and coworkers have been incredibly helpful sending over other newsletters and relevant information to pull from. We're also doing some regulation spotlights on Right of Way permits for Block Parties and signage laws within stores to make sure people are aware of appropriate practices. I'll need to get them reviewed, but I've been drafting those myself. It's exciting stuff!

    I don't think my goals have changed wildly since the start of the summer, but I also think that, when I started, I didn't really have highly specific expectations of what the work would be like because I wasn't entirely sure what I'd end up working on. I've enjoyed the specificity of my work at Waverly Main Street--I feel like I've really able to get into the minutiae of the projects that I've been involved with, and that's been really refreshing. Sometimes, as an intern, it feels like you're on the periphery of a lot of projects but aren't really able to fully sink your teeth in. In particularly, I've loved working on the Waverly Commons project, and I'm incredibly grateful to my supervisor for how much they've trusted me to work on it. I'm so invested in the well-being of this space, and I'm so excited to see it thrive in the future.

    Made an impact between 07/08/2021 and 07/11/2021 with Johns Hopkins University
    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    A lot of my work can be done virtually, so most of my day is spent at my home, working on my laptop. Waverly Main Street does have an office space in Waverly, but my supervisor is only there about twice a week without a set schedule, which means that it's rare for people to come by, and there wouldn't be much difference from being here. That being said, a lot of my energy is concentrated on the Waverly Commons improvement project, which means there's usually a reason to go over to the Waverly Commons space at least once every couple days. What I'm doing there changes very often--I've been there to transport water to the site and take care of the flowers, I've been there to meet with a salesperson to talk about shade sail placement and other non-intrusive shading options for events, I've been there to take measurements for signs advertising proper usage of the space, and I've even been there at 6 am to spread new mulch over the lot. I've also been trying to spend some time actually in Waverly, introducing myself to the merchants in the neighborhood and building more concrete relationships. It's been helpful, but it's a little frustrating, because I'm very aware that I'm already three weeks into a summer internship that will only be lasting 8 weeks total. It's the classic problem from orientation about the inherently temporary nature of the work that we do. After my 8 weeks are up, I won't be working at Waverly Main Street anymore, so there won't really be a need for the Waverly business community to remember who I am. I hope that I won't be making things more confusing by giving them another name to associate with us that won't be relevant in the long-term.

    Made an impact between 06/30/2021 and 07/03/2021
    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    My second week at Waverly Main Street, I definitely felt more comfortable and a little more settled in. During the first week at really any new organization, a lot of big projects and plans get thrown at you all at once, and it can definitely be a little overwhelming figuring out where to get started. Thankfully, I've made some progress in terms of figuring out what to prioritize and how to break things down into manageable chunks. Project #1: improving the Waverly Commons space. Currently, we've been manually transporting water by car to the site to water the flowers there; that's obviously a highly inefficient approach that limits the amount of planting we can do in the garden. So we filled out an application for a water access from the city, which will make a huge difference. We'll be spreading fresh mulch on the site next week, which should help beautify the space as well. Another big decision we have to make is with regards to awnings and shading--nobody wants to go to events in a community space if they have to sit in Baltimore heat! We've worked out a short-term solution, but I'm currently looking into a couple awning companies in the city to see about getting a quote for a more permanent installation. It's super exciting getting to work on something so concrete.

    In terms of big challenges, I do think virtual work can be tricky in terms of communication. WMS is a small organization (three people including myself), so everyone is always busy. That means that, in a virtual setting, it can be hard to get in touch with people and make sure that everyone's on the same page. I do think that this week's been better in that sense, however, since I have a better sense of what I'm supposed to be working on and how to focus my energy. Moreover, the rest of the team has been very willing to support me and answer my questions when I do get stumped or am unsure of how to handle things. Excited to see where things go from here!

    Made an impact between 06/24/2021 and 06/27/2021 with Johns Hopkins University
    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    I was pretty nervous starting at Waverly Main Street, but it's been a solid first week! Definitely a lot of on-boarding and familiarizing myself with the organization's mission and current projects as well as with the Waverly area. The task that occupied most of my time during these first four days was quite a familiar one from my days at Central Baltimore Partnership: Just like CBP, Waverly Main Street has a commercial business index that keeps track of all the merchants currently in the neighborhood as well as their contact information and information about the nature of their business(es). It'd been a few months since my supervisor had updated the index, so I figured that would be a great way to help me get oriented. It was pretty time-consuming (so much cross-referencing!), but I definitely feel like I ended with a little bit of a better sense of the area. I started by using SDAT and google maps, and then I did a physical walk-through on Thursday to double check that there were/weren't any businesses that hadn't set up shop on google maps yet or that had closed without that being reflected online. Unfortunately, it seems like there have been quite a few closings in the past few months from COVID-19, some of which are only temporarily, and too many of which seem to be permanent.

    Overall, I'm liking the work at Waverly Main Street so far. In terms of social issues in Baltimore, I guess I would say my biggest concern is with issues of gentrification. Waverly Main Street is a community development non-profit dedicating to supporting the merchants in the area. That being said, they also have an interest in bringing new businesses to the area and promoting commercial development. It's important to figure out how to do that without displacing the people who are already here--if we can't do that, we aren't really supporting the Waverly community, are we? Lots to think about.

    Made an impact between 06/16/2021 and 06/18/2021 with Johns Hopkins University
    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    My favorite part of orientation was the TAG workshop. They always do a great job, but they really nailed it this time in particular--I've never seen a zoom facilitation session that not kept people so engaged and pushed them to reflect deeply in such a short span of time. Color me impressed! My personal favorite exercise that we did in the session was the "I can tell you about" exercise in the breakout rooms, where we alternated sharing challenges with the person with whom we'd been paired, essentially telling them all the frustrations and insecurities and struggles from the last year "[we] could tell [them]" about. To be honest, I was kind of worried about the exercise at first. I'm normally a pretty reserved person, and while I wouldn't say I'm quiet around new people, it takes a long time before I feel like I can open up and be vulnerable around them. It was kind of scary to go into a space where you essentially had to be vulnerable right away with a total stranger because you weren't allowed any other words to hide behind or cover up your insecurities with.

    What surprised me, then, was how connected I felt to the other person in the breakout room by the end of the session, and how quickly that connection formed during the session. The room just had this feeling of total vulnerability, acceptance, and desire for understanding of the other person's experience. Right before we left the breakout room, we told each other how scared we'd been going into the exercise, but during the exercise, we felt comfortable and safe and accepted. We ended up sharing some very personal feelings, emotions, and vulnerabilities. It was liberating, honestly: to show who you are with no pretenses. I want to carry over that feeling going forward and become more comfortable showing myself to the world.

    Made an impact between 06/10/2021 and 06/12/2021 with Community Impact Internships Program
    CIIP Blogs (Spring 2021)

    I interned at the Central Baltimore Partnership, a nonprofit that works to support the Baltimore community by helping coordinate efforts by other community organizations, directing bigger picture development strategies, and providing financial support for smaller projects. I had a great experience working at CBP, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to see and to directly involve myself in the many facets of nonprofit work. I'm especially grateful to my wonderful supervisor Aaron Kaufman for sharing so much of his experience with me; I learned so much through my conversations with me and the genuine kindness and passion for his work that he continually showed made a huge impression on me.

    One way I've grown is through the greater understanding that I've gained of the ways in which nonprofits are structured and managed; essentially, I've learned the way that this field of work works. I've learned that a successful non-profit needs to be willing to tackle problems from as many angles as possible and needs to be ready to pivot in a new direction at extremely short notice. I've also seen that tackling a social issue successfully requires collaboration between many, many organizations. One of my favorite parts of working at Central Baltimore Partnership has been the extent to which they prioritize collaboration and coordination between the organizations and nonprofits working on a project with one another as key to success. Ultimately, even though my time with CBP is coming to an end, I really connected with the work that they do and I can really see a future for myself in this kind of work.

    Made an impact on 04/05/2021 with Johns Hopkins University