Community-Based Education and Leadership Master’s student Janay Kemp recently concluded a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA member where she served as a program coordinator for Beat the Streets Baltimore. Part of the Maryland Out of School Time (MOST) Network, Beat the Streets Baltimore organizes after-school wrestling programs at 18 Baltimore City schools. In conjunction with its wrestling programs, they encourage students to academic achievement and college admission through mentoring and tutoring opportunities. Janay explains that the mission of the Beat the Streets program is to provide discipline and keep children busy so that they do not have time to get in trouble at home. At the conclusion of the season in March, Beat the Streets hosts a wrestling championship for elementary and middle school students. Janay enjoyed watching all her students come together to compete. She comments, “There was one girl in particular, who was small but tough and ended up winning her weight group. She had never won a trophy before and it was so special to be a part of.”
Inspired by a teacher that she adored while she was little, Janay initially went to college to study education. She ultimately decided to obtain a non-teaching degree in English with a plan to pursue a Master’s in Teaching. During a one-year gap year between programs, Janay joined the AmeriCorps to get her foot in the door in the Baltimore school system. AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs that is dedicated to strengthening communities. Janay committed to one year of service with the MOST Network which is a statewide youth development organization that aims to provide more and better opportunities for Maryland youth during out of school hours. While working with the young boys and men in Baltimore, Janay realized that she was more interested in the impact she could have on the youth in a non-teaching role. She was still interested in pursuing a degree in education but did not believe that taking the PRAXIS was necessary for her new career goals. During a visit to the MOST Network, Janay was introduced to Dr. Anne Davis, the dean of Stevenson University Online (SUO). Dr. Davis shared information about the Community-Based Education and Leadership (CBEL) Master’s program at SUO. Designed to meet the growing demand for highly qualified professionals to teach, lead, and manage in non-formal and informal education settings, Janay knew that she had found the right fit in Stevenson’s CBEL program. Janay is currently exploring full-time opportunities as a program or community coordinator with a long-term goal of having her own afterschool program or summer program.
Janay is passionate about supporting the youth in Baltimore City. She has enjoyed listening to their thoughts and giving them the chance to speak their minds. She says, “We need to introduce them to more creative things. It is also our responsibility to get them prepared for college because many of them are not receiving that education.” Her advice to people interested in similar careers is “to not stress out. It is a very special type of work so just take it day by day.” Janay also encourages others to join the AmeriCorps and help be a part of the greater good. Approximately 75,000 Americans participate in AmeriCorps each year and help tackle a diverse range of community needs. In honor of the National Day of Service, Stevenson University Online would like to thank Janay and all SUO students and alumni that are active in charitable engagement.
For more information about Stevenson University Online’s Community-Based Education and Leadership Master’s program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-531-7118.