2019 marked the fourth consecutive year in which Impact Hub Baltimore has partnered with JHU’s Community Impact Internship Program (CIIP). The Community Impact Internships Program is a competitive, paid summer internship, that pairs JHU undergraduate students with nonprofit organizations and government agencies to work on community-identified projects in Baltimore. This program strives to give each of its students that same inspiration and opportunities for growth as they connect them with an organization. This year, we were lucky enough to have Sarah Y. Kim join our team for the summer. Below you’ll find Sarah’s reflections on her time in the space:
Impact Hub encapsulates everything I love about Baltimore. No day is the same — it’s a diverse, constantly shifting community of people with so many different talents and ideas who do share one thing: a real love and commitment to the community and the people in this city. The physical space is a shrine to everything local. Paintings by local artists cover the walls, bags of Thread Coffee line the kitchen shelves. The furniture — tables, rugs, chairs — are by local makers, and the long island in the communal kitchen is made from demolished rowhomes.
There’s a welcome informality to Impact Hub. Strangers bump into one another — by the kitchen, at Skillshares, in one of the open spaces — and form pivotal connections. Members are open, warm, eager to know about you and how you are doing. Young poets huddle in an office room, reciting, stomping and clapping in unison; kids eat their lunch from a pot and ride dollies across the open spaces; people lie on the floor of a conference room, meditating. At the beginning of each team meeting we talk about how we’re feeling, sitting around a scented candle. Sometimes we close our eyes, turn the lights off and we do a little breather.
For me, the last couple of weeks at Impact Hub have been the busiest and the most fulfilling. I’ve had the privilege of meeting face-to-face with members from so many different walks of life and who’ve given so much to the community. In these last weeks I’ve interviewed a poet, a roofing contractor, a birth worker, a teachers organizer, a dirt biker. The list goes on. I’ve re-experienced the sense of fulfillment I’ve gotten out of doing student journalism in Baltimore: reaching out to people from completely different walks of life, learning more about them and the city and the complex relationships between communities and institutions, feeling grateful when people entrust me with their stories.
These eight weeks have really flown by, and in that time my love for Baltimore has only grown. I’m thankful to have had a front seat in watching Impact Hub’s growth, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Impact Hub and its members.