Q&A with Kim Callari of The Baltimore Station

| January 12, 2016 | 1 Comments

Article provided by the South Baltimore Network:

A Q& A with Kim Callari, Director of Development and Communications at The Baltimore Station located at 140 W. West St. in South Baltimore. 

balstationHow did you become involved with this organization?

I joined The Baltimore Station (TBS) almost 5 years ago.  Previous to joining TBS, I had my own marketing communications/event planning business for over 13 years.  One of my very good friends introduced me to TBS and I was hooked from the first time I came to visit.  

Can you tell me about the work your organization does and the program or programs you run?

The Baltimore Station is entering its 27th year of turning lives around. We are an innovative therapeutic residential treatment program supporting veterans and others who are transitioning through the cycle of poverty, addiction and homelessness to self sufficiency. We have two facilities in Baltimore City: one in Sandtown/Winchester and the other in South Baltimore. Between our two facilities, we serve over 330 men annually. Residents receive housing, food, clothing, educational opportunities, job training and placement, family reunification strategies and individual and group counseling services. I’m in charge of all of our fundraising efforts as well as our communications. This includes fundraising events, annual appeals, social media strategies, website presence, etc.

What differentiates you from other organizations? 

Men can stay with us for up to two years which is a huge benefit and differentiates us from other organizations. Research has shown that the longer a person can stay in a recovery program, the greater their chances are of leading a life of recovery. We also make sure that we expose our residents to activities that they will be able to participate in after they leave our program that don’t revolve around drugs and/or alcohol.  Some of these activities include soccer, yoga, drama and art therapies.  We also bring the community into TBS with a very robust volunteer program.  After all, one day when a resident graduates from our program, he will be your neighbor and we want him to know how to be a good neighbor.  We currently have over 1,300 volunteers who regularly serve meals, organize fundraising efforts, perform service projects, collect in-kind donations and take residents to local activities and events.  Volunteers have a tremendous positive impact on our resident’s self esteem and self worth.

What do you think your constituents or beneficiaries would say is the best thing about your organization? 

Probably the best thing about our organization is that we have a proven track record of success.  Our men graduate from The Baltimore Station with the tools they are going to need to lead a life of recovery.   Our residents are also very appreciative and thankful for the services they receive at The Baltimore Station and the community and staff they interact with.

What results does your organization achieve?

70% of our men graduate from our program and continue on to lead a life of recovery.  The national average is just 22%.  Our residents are very active in the community, learning that it’s important to give back to the community who has supported them while they were in our program.  We are debt free and annually make contributions to our reserve fund.  Our men are graduating and finding jobs, reuniting with their families and becoming contributing members of the community once again. 

How has your program improved over time?

We continue to respond to the ever-changing needs of our residents.  Our clinical staff regularly attends training so that they are on top of new treatment modalities and issues our residents may be facing.  New in 2015 was “Voice with a choice” whereby our residents have more of a say in, for example, what kind of snacks they receive, improvements to the facility, events they would like to participate in, educational goals, etc.  We created a suggestion box in 2015 and the response from the residents has been tremendous.

What are your goals for the next three to five years?

TBS has several goals for the next 3-5 years.  These include expanding our after care program and being able to bill for medicare/Medicaid; permanent supportive housing for graduates of our program and workforce development. 

What priorities will help you achieve them?

Our dedicated Board of Directors and community support will definitely help us reach or goals.  What barriers are in your way?  Financial support and identifying the right space for the permanent supportive housing always provide challenges to accomplishing our goals.

Talk about current goals and initiatives (events, fundraising, etc.) 

TBS annually has to raise funds to cover the gap between government funds and the cost to operate our program.  Our fundraising efforts are supported by two major fundraising events (Stars, Stripes & Chow in November and Homerun for Recovery in April); multiple third party fundraising events, individual and corporate donations, support from the faith community and grant funding from multiple foundations.

Fun fact about the author. 

I’m a scrapbook enthusiast.  It’s the one activity I do that relaxes me and makes me appreciate even more, the great life I have and the amazing people in it. 

To learn more about the Baltimore Station, please visit our website www.baltimorestation.org

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