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Mobilize for Good in Baltimore, Maryland

As the number of COVID-19 cases grew in March and April, the need for assistance grew as well. To provide that help, the Mobilize for Good team refocused its efforts to address the crisis at hand. We began with schools in need in Baltimore, Maryland. And, with the help of an alumna and partners, we worked to make a difference.

Here’s the story.

Walden University alumna Val Taylor looks into the camera in front of a black backdrop.

Val Taylor, ’18, MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, spearheaded the effort to help students impacted by school closures.

BACKPACKS OF FOOD AND TABLETS FOR STUDENTS

Partner Schools: Gwynns Falls Elementary and Beechfield Elementary/Middle School

Schools going online meant that students who relied on free or subsidized school meal programs were struggling to get the food they needed. This need was particularly acute among the young scholars at Gwynns Falls Elementary and Beechfield Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore, Maryland—two schools that often partner with Walden.

The principals of the two schools shared the need with Val Taylor, ’18, MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. As a manager in the Walden University Office of the President and leader of Walden’s social change initiatives in the Maryland area, she was uniquely positioned to make a significant difference. And eager to do so.

“Whenever there is something we can do to help the community,” Val says, “I’m eager to say ‘Yes! Let’s do it! How can we make this happen?’”

Val partnered with Mobilize for Good to buy 80 backpacks along with the food and hygiene products needed to fill each one. Because of social distancing rules, Val gathered all the supplies herself and then she and her 14-year-old grandson filled the backpacks. It was a monumental effort that directly impacted the well-being of 80 students and their families.

But Val and the Mobilize for Good team weren’t done.

Gwynns Falls and Beechfield had a lot of students who didn’t have access to internet technology at home. That meant these students had no way to participate in online classes or online learning activities. When the schools’ principals spoke to Val about the issue, she and the Mobilize for Good team pledged their assistance once more.

Over the ensuing weeks, Val worked to source hundreds of tablet computers, which were in high demand and not easy to find in large quantities. However, after significant effort, Val was able to use funds provided by the Mobilize for Good team to purchase a total of 650 Amazon Fire and Acer tablets. Their arrival in the hands of students opened up new learning opportunities and helped ensure equitable education during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I hope these acts inspire others to look out for our fellow man, our students, and our community,” Val says. “We are all in this together.”


If you like to learn more about Baltimore City Public Schools and make a donation to continue to support the initiative, visit https://www.baltimorecityschools.org/donations.

Founder and CEO of Improving Education Jarrod Bolte smiles for the camera in front of a bookcase.

Jarrod Bolte, founder and CEO of Improving Education, partnered with Walden to help ensure children had what they needed to learn from home.

Learning in a Box Kits

Partner: Improving Education

In addition to helping the young scholars at Gwynns Falls Elementary and Beechfield Elementary/Middle School, the Mobilize for Good team partnered with Improving Education, a Baltimore City nonprofit, to help students at six other Baltimore-area schools.

The initiative began with Walden’s long-held conviction that, in order for students of any age to succeed, they need the right tools. During the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the right tools included a wide range of learning resources. And Jarrod Bolte, founder and CEO of Improving Education, was the right man to help meet the need.

Partnering with Walden, Improving Education distributed 300 Learning in a Box kits to students in kindergarten through second grade attending six Baltimore-area schools. The boxes contained resources to help younger students learn at home along with curriculum-specific items chosen for the needs of the moment.

With each box, a student and his or her family gained a much-needed boost and the assurance that the wider community was supporting them—and helping them continue to learn and thrive.

The six schools included in the initiative were Maree G. Farring Elementary/Middle School, Curtis Bay Elementary/Middle School, Liberty Elementary School, Lakeland Elementary/Middle School, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School, and Thomas Johnson Elementary School.



If you’d like to find out more about Learning in a Box and make a donation to continue to support the initiative, visit www.learninginabox.org.

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