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Josh Bradley | Village Learning Place

Joshua Bradley, Partner at RMG

Organization: Village Learning Place
Role within Organization: Vice President, Board of Directors/Executive & Development Committee Member
Number of Years/Months Involved: 5 Years

Why do you volunteer your time specifically with this organization?

Because I’d get an opportunity to work with kids in the community and focus on reading (which is a passion of mine).  VLP is a privately run library, and community center, where the community of Charles Village holds a variety of activities on a regular basis.  At the same time, VLP runs an after school program both in the library itself and across the street in rented property which is essentially an extended school-day for the participants who are all well below the poverty line, most of which are underperforming scholastically.  VLP serves about 150 kids during each school year, approximately 150-200 in each summer session (they hold a full and free summer camp).  They have teachers on staff (5 part-time), a reading interventionist and a bunch of Americorps volunteers that come in and assist the teachers.

Does this organization affect Baltimore as a whole?

It works as one of the pieces of many after-school nonprofits that are running in various localities throughout Baltimore; so it does, but only in conjunction with those other nonprofits.  VLP helps 99% kids from Charles Village.

What is your favorite memory of working with this organization?

For a few years, VLP put together a poetry book filled with poems by 5th and 6th graders.  When VLP would hold a “release party” where the authors would read selections from their respective works and autograph copies of books afterwards.  It was great to see these kids lauded and treated like celebrities.  You could tell it was a foreign experience and they loved it.

If you could do one thing to change the organization for the better, what would it be?

I would make it more inclusive and less provincial, and, of course, find an evergreen source of funding – nowadays federal funding is drying up quick.