News & Media

25 years of remaking Baltimore through Civic Works

SUSAN INGRAM, THE JEWISH TIMES — On a clear day, the view from the top of Clifton Mansion’s 80-foot Italianate tower affords a 360-degree view of Baltimore, across the green and lush Clifton Park and beyond, to the city skyline. An even closer look would reveal the many blocks and neighborhoods where Civic Works, the nonprofit that occupies the restored historic mansion, has made a difference for the past 25 years.

One such area is just a few blocks away, where the organization’s Community Lot Team is busy on a recent fall afternoon tidying up beds of sunflowers and other plants in a triangle of green that was once a brown and abandoned parcel. It’s just one of 240 vacant lots that Civic Works’ teams of AmeriCorps members have transformed since the organization’s founding by Dana Stein and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in 1993.

Brian Smith started working with Civic Works when he was still in high school at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. Now 21, he recently signed up for a year with the Community Lot program.

“Because of the opportunities, there’s a lot of benefits from it as well as giving back to the city,” said Smith, who plans to continue his studies at Morgan State University. “That pretty much motivated me to want to stay longer and see more done for the city, as far as building up our community for the future.”

Civic Works provides a number of services through its dozen programs, including AmeriCorps opportunities, such as job training, skills development and environmental education, urban farming, senior services and volunteer opportunities.

Check out the rest of the article online at the Jewish Times. Photo credit the Jewish Times.