KRISTIN HANSON | READING PARTNERS
Kristin enjoys sports, running, and playing with her pup!
She is inspired by the kids she volunteers with through Reading Partners, a national organization dedicated to bringing students closer to grade-level reading.
Email Kristin: ksimonetti[at]gmail[dot]com How interesting!: Howie Schwab, of ESPN’s “Stump the Schwab” fame, was a guest at Kristin’s wedding!
What brought you to Baltimore? My husband and I moved to Baltimore in 2015 when I joined Johns Hopkins University as a senior writer for my department. We first lived in Canton–we loved it! Then we moved to Rodgers Forge, a community just north of the city. When I’m not at work, I love running the various roads and trails around the city and the county, and taking my dog, Leilani, to Patterson Park dog park.
What’s your connection to Baltimore? In Baltimore, I so enjoy the sports, running, playing with my pup, and having my family here!
What do you like about Baltimore? I love the un-pretentiousness of the city. I used to live in Washington, D.C., where everyone seems to think they’re the center of the universe. Here, it was awesome to just go to a bar at happy hour, strike up a conversation with the person next to you, and not have them think you’re crazy, and then they actually talk back with you!
New Baltimoreans should definitely check out: Reading Partners: They’re a national organization supported through AmeriCorps, but it’s particularly necessary here in Baltimore. One hour each week, I visit an elementary school and tutor a second-grade student in a specially designed curriculum to help bring them closer to grade-level reading. Those kids have truly become one of the best parts of my Baltimore experience. At first it was kind of a shock; the schools are old and in various states of disrepair. The kids can’t even drink water out of the fountains; there are water coolers around the floors and big signs over sinks that say “DO NOT DRINK – HAND WASH ONLY.” I remember my elementary school as a place of bright colors, cleanliness, and safety; that’s not what these kids see every day. Then, when you get to know the student you work with, you learn a little bit about what they experience outside of the school. Details dribble out, like whether both their parents are around, when the last time they ate was, whether any family came to their holiday assembly, or that they’re scared of reading the word “danger” because it makes them think of violence. You see all of this, and then you see the smile on their face when you drop by their class to pick them up. They’re so excited to see you, and then they’re enthusiastic to learn. It makes you feel like, in some small way, you’re helping them, their family, and the city.