April 2014 – Helping Students with Greater Baltimore Urban League

Our April event was with Greater Baltimore Urban League, a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged Marylanders gain access to equal opportunity in employment, education, health care, housing and the civic arena. GBUL has been around since 1924 as a local affiliate of the National Urban League, which was founded in 1910.

GBUL blog photo

The volunteering event we did was outstanding!  GBUL has a program that has just wrapped up its inaugural year that they called the Saturday Leadership Program. The program runs through the school year on Saturday mornings and each week the 8th to 12th grade students, who come from all across the city, learn and practice different skills that will help prepare them for school and professional life. The students graduated from the program the previous week, so it was awesome to see so many of them still come out for our event. It’s not easy for a kid to wake up on a Saturday morning when all of their friends are still asleep to go to what feels like school. Many of these students wake up before 7:00 am to get on an MTA bus to go to the site for that week’s portion of the program.

We assisted the students with their resumes and job interview skills. Half of the volunteers focused on resume preparation and helped formulate resumes for all of the students. They would sit down with a student and create from scratch a resume that highlighted the student’s skills and accomplishments on a computer so it could be emailed to them and used by the student for years to come. The other half of the volunteers played the role of a boss looking to hire an employee and the students went in to this mock interview trying to land a job. Halfway through the event the two groups of students switched so each would have a resume and the opportunity to participate in mock interviews. It was an event that all of the volunteers loved and all of the students benefited from.

One of our volunteers, Samantha Gendler, went above and beyond what was asked and she deserves special recognition for her contribution. She designed a full curriculum for the event, complete with instruction for all of the volunteers and students, mock interview questions, sample resumes and all sorts of other stuff. The program that she created will now be implemented in GBUL’s Saturday Leadership Program for years to come and I know GBUL was extremely appreciative of her time and efforts.

To learn more about Greater Baltimore Urban League go here: www.bul.org and if you would like to volunteer with them, contact Greater Baltimore Urban League’s Director of New Initiatives, Estelle Young: eyoung@gbul.org.