I had a wonderful and positive experience at Baltimore Reads. This summer I was one of Baltimore Reads' interns. I heard a lot of positive things from a former BRI intern and close friend. I was intrigued and excited to have the opportunity to work with BRI this summer. Everyone at BRI is extremely friendly and caring, which made the atmosphere a great place to work and learn. I was able to hone my skills with letter writing campaigns as well as learn new and valuable skills in grant writing and outreach. I was also able to use my experience in civic engagement and leadership to work independently on a project for students at Baltimore Reads which would empower students to become civically engaged in their communities. Through this project and other smaller projects I was assigned I learned so much about the issue of adult literacy, something that I was not completely aware of. I extremely fortunate to have this experience because it has taught me a lot about the non profit world and given me insight to career opportunities in the future.
Review from Guidestar
My time with Baltimore Reads has been nothing short of a blessing. Having worked with the non-profit organization over the past several months, I have only become more and more impressed with them. Meeting the dedicated teachers and experiencing the positive energy they radiate in their classrooms has been especially wonderful. Teachers like Michael Dabney, create a safe and supportive learning environment for the students at Baltimore Reads that assists them in achieving both their personal and professional goals. The faculty and staff of Baltimore Reads do so much more than simply instruct their students in subjects ranging from adult literacy to GED Prep to English as a Second Language. They give them the tools to excel in every area in their lives. The offer everything from workshops that deal with resume writing and interview skills to First Aid and Child Care classes. Aside from their instructional programs, I found their mission to spread awareness about the issue of illiteracy and their attempts to combat it by ending the cycle of illiteracy in families incredibly inspiring. They offer children’s programs, literacy parties, and a book bank where children’s books are given away for free. They also offer parent workshops and student assemblies to find new ways for parents to get their child excited about reading. As an extension of my civic literacy class at Loyola University Maryland, I was asked to take a close look at Baltimore Reads and come to my own conclusion about the agency. It was after interviewing one particular staff member, Rachel Dolcine, on the Literacy Garden initiative that really made up my mind about the organization. She talked about how her goals for the garden and her goals for Baltimore Reads students were similar. Her greatest hope for Baltimore Reads students is that they will grow in such a way that allows them to not only sustain themselves but also to better serve their community.
Review from Guidestar
Baltimore Reads is a nonprofit organization that is full of energy and new ideas. I worked with Baltimore Reads through a service learning class at Loyola University. I really enjoyed my interactions with everyone at the organization. Speaking with the students in Mr. Dabney’s GED class and learning about their life experiences helped me to put many of the concepts we read about in my class into the context or real people and real life experiences. Hearing the stories of students who had gone through much of their adult lives without a comprehensive set of literacy skills was eye-opening. It was also a pleasure to work with inspiring people like Rachel Dolcine and Michael Dabney. both of whom had formed clear bonds with Baltimore Reads students. Rachel Dolcine was very open to new ideas for how to promote Baltimore Reads and make a difference. Michael Dabney is also an extremely powerful speaker. Every time he interacted with our class, he had many motivational and inspiring words and it is not difficult to see why the students at Baltimore Reads love Mr. Dabney and Rachel Dolcine.
Baltimore Reads is an excellent organization working hard to fight illiteracy in Baltimore City. With locations all over the city and free classes in basic adult literacy, GED and more, it offers convenient opportunities for people to further their education. But Baltimore Reads' greatest asset is its passionate and dedicated staff and leaders. Rachel is the best kind of idealist, so delighted by enthusiasm and constantly seeking ways to improve and expand Baltimore Reads' programming. Mr. Dabney, one of the teachers, forges strong relationships with his students and shows a sort of quiet excitement and love for his work. I volunteered through my university's service-learning partnership and met some of the students in one of Mr. Dabney's GED classes. Though we were newcomers coming into their classroom, one of the students mentioned to one of my classmates that she knew she could trust us because Mr. Dabney had brought us in, and she trusted him and his judgment. BRI is an organization strong to the core, supported by the passion of all those involved.
Review from Guidestar
Baltimore Reads goes above and beyond as a literacy program. Not only does this incredible organization offer an array of classes, programs, and workshops to serve individuals at all levels of need, but it also maintains two other sites where literacy is fostered: The Book Bank and Literacy Garden. The Garden is located directly across the street from the St. Ambrose location, and provides fresh herbs and vegetables for its visitors. It is also a lovely spot to relaxingly read a book on a nice day and get some sun. The Book Bank is located downtown, and is set up like a cozy library where you could spend all day sifting through the tons of books they have to offer – completely free for children and at a minimal cost to adults.
Beyond the physical spaces and structured lessons, Baltimore Reads offers another invaluable gift: dedicated staff members and instructors. The men and women working for this organization truly believe in the value of literacy, and enthusiastically share their passions with everyone they encounter. As a service-learning partner with the organization for a semester, I was surprised to see how powerful of an effect this can have. Needless to say, I was moved, and can now clearly understand how they instill a sense of confidence and determination in their students to empower them to reach success.
Without a doubt, Baltimore Reads deserves five stars for their remarkable work as a non-profit, combatting illiteracy. This past semester, I participated in a service-learning course, partnered with Baltimore Reads. The Baltimore Reads' clients and staff members, warmed my heart with unbelievable dedication to the program from both sides of the spectrum. Judging from the positive tone, upbeat attitudes and overall enthusiasm from the staff, clearly, the staff at BRI is passionate about creating a supportive and comfortable environment in which their students will thrive. From the other perspective, I can only imagine how difficult it might be to continue one's education after having dropped out of school. Despite this hurdle, though, the Baltimore Reads clients continue to come to class, day after day, most notably, because they have been inspired to progress by such encouraging teachers.
This organization also goes above and beyond expectations by offering an abundance of extracurricular activities and services that help students succeed. BRI offers transitional services to help clients find jobs, students and staff work on computer literacy, a BRI book bank program promotes the joys of reading to children and adults and the Literacy Garden offers fresh produce and spreads awareness of health and nutrition. If it had not already been exhibited enough through the amazing kindness and commitment shown by the BRI staff, these supplementary programs prove that Baltimore Reads strives for more than GED certificates. Rather, they remain devoted to bettering the entire lives of their students. For their extraordinary work, Baltimore Reads warrants praise.
I worked with Baltimore Reads as a AmeriCorps Volunteer for about a year and fell in love with the mission and passion behind the people who keep it alive daily! They work hard to make a difference in the life of Baltimore City community members in every way. Not only do they help with addressing literacy issues, but they help their clients with everyday issues. From healthy living through the Literacy Garden, or work force development through their Training and Transitions Department. They even make it a point to give away free food and gifts to underpriveldeged famalies through the yearly Holiday Fair at the Book Bank, and community events throughout the year. Baltimore Reads is an outstanding non-profit that touches so many lives everyday, and has made a drastic change in mine as well. They deserve 5 stars and above! Keep up the great work BRI!
Baltimore Reads is an organization that went from rags to riches in my heart. I was not knowledgeable of this organization until some well needed research was done. I have come to know that I made the right choice volunteering my time to this organization post college graduation. I appreciate Baltimore Reads for being there for the surrounding community and helping adults reach for the literacy star! I can say that my time here has been filled with warmth from the staff and the students! I can appreciate that the students enjoy coming to class (not just because they are free), enjoying their teachers, and the joy they experience interacting with everyone else who they come into contact with. They leave their classes with a richer knowledge of what they need in life to continue succeeding. They also leave with higher goals set for themselves and go on to pass their exams. I appreciate the staff’s desire to reach out to all communities within and outside of the area that they serve. I can also say that they change children’s lives and love for reading with the free books they pass out at events and the “open to all” free book bank where families can come to get what their children need or teachers get what their classroom students need to succeed and fall in love with reading. I tip my hat to this non-profit for everything that they do!
Review from Guidestar