So What Else Baltimore
After 3 years of explosive growth in the DC region, So What Else started working with local activists and philanthropists to bring So What Else to Baltimore. In the last 3 years, our Baltimore wing has grown to 15 weekly after school classes in a wide range of topics, from SWE classics like Integrative Wellness and Expressive Arts to working with Baltimore-area educators to start new programs like Vegan Cooking and sponsor organizations like Code in the Schools. Check out some of our biggest Baltimore programs below:
AFSIVA Vegan Cooking Program
Spring 2017 was our first semester at the Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts, and our weekly cooking class taught our 15 high school students the basics of vegan eating, sustainable food sourcing, and how to find their way away around a kitchen. Our Baltimore Coordinator Christine Garrahan designed and spearheaded this program with the help of Chef Eli and a small group of Baltimore chefs. Under Christine's initiative our AFSIVA students also enjoyed a weekend retreat in Thurmont, MD at ThorpeWood, a retreat center that promotes exploring nature and learning with horses in a relaxing, rural environment. Throughout the weekend they shared their thoughts on what it means to be a leader, worked together to explore the wilderness, shared personal stories through spoken word, and connected to their surroundings through a guided meditation and yoga. This retreat was the first of its kind for So What Else and we hope to use the successes and lessons from this event to continue developing this retreat to run for our high schoolers each semester.
Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School
Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School was the site of So What Else's first ever Baltimore after school program, and we are busier than ever at our oldest partner site. In Spring 2017 we hit our biggest milestone yet, providing over 10 weekly after school programs for our elementary schoolers. Offerings include Expressive Arts, STEM, Olympiad, and Literacy, as well as Farmer Dominic Nell's "Micro-Greens" program and coding courses through Code in the Schools.
James McHenry Elementary-Middle School
In addition to our Olympiad programs on Tuesday and Thursday and a video production class through Griot's Eye of the African Youth Academy, So What Else hosts a Breakfast Rewards program twice a month for a number of students who achieve outstanding results in their classes over the last two weeks. 2016 was also the second year we hosted the So What Else Holiday Party, an event where we invite students from our JMEMS after school programs and their families to join us for an afternoon of food, games, crafts, music, moon bounces, and of course, holiday presents. JMEMS is a testament to our successful growth from Eutaw-Marshburn into Baltimore's OST programming community, and we look forward to strengthening this partnership for years to come.