Back in Baltimore: Stacy's Rebuilding Together Journey
Recently, Rebuilding Together’s national office staff met in Baltimore, Maryland for our annual staff retreat. It was the first time national staff members have been together in person since March 2020. During the staff retreat, we focused on team building, strategic planning and learned more about Rebuilding Together’s community revitalization partnerships (CRP), specifically in Baltimore. We also had a chance to do some community outreach to share information about our CRP initiatives with community members. We put together energy efficiency kits to be distributed at a community resource fair and some of us got the opportunity to help prepare a local neighbor’s house for an upcoming Rebuilding Together Baltimore project.
We asked one of our national staff members, Stacy Maliff, to talk about her experience in Baltimore that week and her history with Rebuilding Together.
“I was first introduced to Rebuilding Together eight years ago as an AmeriCorps Outreach Coordinator with Rebuilding Together Baltimore. I was a recent college graduate who had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I heard about AmeriCorps through an internship in college and thought I’d give it a try. I wanted to serve in a community that provided me with a new experience but was also not too far from home. Baltimore was only 2.5 hours from my hometown in New Jersey but far enough to have a new experience where I had the opportunity to make an impact in the community.
I was drawn to Rebuilding Together’s mission because I grew up around home repairs and construction. My grandfather was a home builder and he and my father built my childhood home together. I remember my mom taking my brother and I to visit while they were building our house and I quickly grew to love construction. In high school and college, I volunteered with housing nonprofits; and went on several mission trips and alternative break trips to help build new homes or rebuild after disasters. These experiences made me realize that my love for construction was meant to be in the nonprofit sector because I was passionate about helping others.
I served with Rebuilding Together Baltimore for 11 months; I called Baltimore home and the staff at Rebuilding Together Baltimore became my family. One of Baltimore’s nicknames is “Smalltimore” because it’s a small city where everyone knows everyone. I quickly realized how small Baltimore is when I met a co-worker who attended a rival high school in my hometown and met friends who knew people I knew from college. These connections helped me feel like a part of the community and made me even more passionate about the work I was there to do. I loved my service term with Rebuilding Together Baltimore and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I grew and learned a lot about myself in those short 11 months. I enjoyed my time there so much that I held out hope that a position would open at Rebuilding Together’s national office so I could help make an impact in more communities across the country. I accepted that job with Rebuilding Together’s national office three years ago.
Being back in Baltimore for Rebuilding Together’s national staff retreat reminded me why I do this work. It’s so easy to get lost in your daily work tasks that you forget why it is you chose this path. The staff retreat allowed me to reflect on my experiences and reminded me this is where I am meant to be.
I hadn’t been back to Baltimore since I graduated from my AmeriCorps term in June 2015. It felt like nothing changed but in reality, so much had changed because of the incredible work Rebuilding Together Baltimore has continued to do in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Learning about CRP and how much Rebuilding Together Baltimore has grown was eye opening and exciting. I was one of the staff members that had the opportunity to help prepare a local neighbor’s home for other volunteers to conduct home repairs later that week. Meeting one of our neighbors and having her welcome us into her home with open arms was a great reminder that we are here to serve our neighbors and communities across the country. We aren’t just an organization that repairs homes and revitalizes communities, we are an organization that treats our neighbors like family and brings our communities together despite our different backgrounds. We are a family! Together, we’re making a positive impact across the country and I am so proud to be a part of this work.”