While attending a school with a high population of white cis straight students, we have witnessed microaggressions of racism, homophobia, and transphobia within our community.
By doing this project, we hope to open children’s eyes to different identities at a young age so that minorities don’t have to grow up with the same harsh experiences that minorities face now. We want Baltimore to be a place filled with open minded citizens that make our community an inclusive, accepting space where all identities feel safe and welcome.
Community Reads is a non-profit organization focused on teaching children in grades K-2 about diversity through literature. Studies indicate that exposing children to multicultural literature at a young age can diminish prejudicial thoughts about race.
Our goal is to change the mindsets of children in Baltimore to be more open and accepting of different identities by exposing them to cultures that are not their own and subtly informing them about difficult issues in today’s climate that affect these identities.
Research also suggests that hate crimes are born from two sources: violence and ignorance. Community Reads targets ignorance by teaching children in this critical window about different cultures and identities with the hope that we can increase their acceptance of others who are different than them, give them the confidence to explore their own identity, and motivate them to encourage others to be more tolerant.
Philanthropy Tank empowers and inspires the next generation of CHANGEmakers by challenging and equipping students to implement sustainable service-driven solutions to problems impacting our community. Their fundamental goals are to help shape students’ leadership paths and, through their creative solutions, address and improve social issues in our community.
The mission of The Warnock Foundation is to support innovative ideas and people who are thinking outside the box to improve the lives of the citizens of Baltimore.
Their vision is to provide a platform for Baltimore’s thought leaders and community that will help them utilize their talents and energy to move Baltimore in a positive direction.
The Experiment Digital is funded by the Stevens Initiative which is sponsored by the US Department of State and administered by the Aspen Institute. The Stevens Initiative is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. The Initiative is an international effort to build global competence and career readiness skills for young people in the United States, the Middle East and North Africa.
We currently partner with Justinia Carter, the community engagement manager for Reading Partners Baltimore. Reading Partners is a children’s literacy program that brings community volunteers into neighborhood schools to provide one-on-one reading support using a proven, evidence-based curriculum to help improve student’s literacy growth.
This school year, Reading Partners has provided over 3200 free online one-on-one tutoring sessions to students at their 16 partner schools in Baltimore City. Through this mentor-partnership we worked with Justinia on the development of Community Reads, including creation of lesson plans, selecting books, and creating advertisements.
We currently have a partnership with The Ivy Bookshop, an independent bookstore dedicated to Baltimore, to books, and to the world of ideas that books represent. Located in a converted 19th century building with three acres of beautiful gardens, the Ivy is a welcoming cultural center anchored by books. They have graciously donated the diverse children’s books that we use in our lessons.
The Fund For Educational Excellence is an independent nonprofit organization working to close the equity and opportunity gaps for all students in Baltimore City Public Schools. In addition, the Fund acts as a trusted fiscal sponsor, managing private and public funding on behalf of Baltimore City Public Schools and other local education and youth-focused programs, including Community Reads.