Our Visit to Kennedy Krieger Institute

by Stacy Tharp 18. August 2015

Kennedy Krieger Institute

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, 1st Mariner Bank is giving back to Baltimore through a Random Acts of Kindness campaign. We are participating in random acts of kindness around the city throughout 2015 as a way to thank the community for helping us reach this milestone.

As part of this campaign, 1st Mariner Bank invited children from the Kennedy Krieger Institute to attend a TV commercial shoot with Joe Flacco. After the shoot, Kennedy Krieger contacted us to see if we’d be interested in volunteering. Of course, we were thrilled to accept the invitation! I sat down with Erica Starr, Director of Marketing, and Andrew Schreiber, Retail Product Manager, to ask them about their visit to Kennedy Krieger.

Q: What did you do at Kennedy Krieger?

Erica Starr: We played different card games, made a magnet craft and even played a few games on the Wii with the kids. They rotated in and out of “activity time” depending on their treatment schedule for that specific day. We were on the inpatient side so all of the kids we interacted with were there for longer than a 24-hour period. Depending on their treatment plan, some were there for just a few days, while others were there for weeks.

Q: What were the children like that you met?

Andrew Shreiber: The children all had different types of needs for various developmental disorders and injuries. Every activity we did with the kids proved to be very therapeutic for them. Some were shy at first, but as the day went on I could tell they were coming out of their shell. The children had unique personalities that each stood out in distinctive ways.

Erica: The boy I was doing arts and crafts with was dressed up like Superman. We decided together to name his magnet “Super Dolphin.” He definitely made a lasting impression on me.

Q: What was the most important thing you learned from this experience?

Erica: These children have to deal with incredibly hard things at such a young age. Yet, they are some of the most optimistic, pleasant, authentic individuals that I’ve ever met. Their innocence and drive really made me realize that the stress in my life really isn’t something that is worth stressing about. I went home extremely grateful for my healthy family and friends and eager to come back and play with the kids again.

Andrew: This experience made me realize the small things in life that I take for granted. There are so many things that seem mundane and second nature to me that some people can’t do. Regardless of the obstacles these children face, they don’t let it define them on any level or stop them from being happy. Volunteering at Kennedy Krieger made me want to have a more positive outlook on life.

Q: What do you think the children gained from the experience at the shoot and when you visited?

Erica: I think getting interaction with different people on a normal basis is great for the kids. It was great to see the excitement on the kids’ faces as soon as Joe Flacco walked in the room. They really responded well to meeting new people and seemed to light up whenever they got a chance to talk or interact with a new face.

Andrew: At the commercial shoot with Joe Flacco, I had the opportunity to speak about the children’s experience with some of the Kennedy Krieger staff. In the week leading up to the shoot, the staff had seen a major boost in morale among the kids. The children were so motivated by the visit with Joe Flacco that they showed a huge improvement in motor skills and efforts in therapy. The occupational therapists and speech pathologists that were at the shoot said the kids did things they have never done before and made leaps and bounds just in the 20-30 minutes they spent talking with Joe.

Q: Why is community service like this so important to 1st Mariner Bank?

Andrew: As a community bank, it is important to be active in the community that you’re ultimately trying to help. Service has been a priority for 1st Mariner Bank these past 20 years, and I know will remain as important in the next 20.

Erica: 1st Mariner has always prided itself with being a community focused institution. It’s one of our core values and one that we take very seriously. Everyone from senior management to back office is encouraged to get out and contribute in some way to community initiatives. We’re firm believers that a rising tide raises all ships. It’s up to both Baltimore’s businesses and citizens to make sure that tide continues to rise.

Identity Theft and Social Media: Are You at Risk?

by Stacy Tharp 22. July 2015

Social Media and Identity Theft

When you think of social media, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably something along the lines of 100 supposedly different photos of your friend’s newborn baby (just don’t tell your friend that every photo looks the same), or the daily exercise routine of your health-nut coworker, or maybe a YouTube video of the unlikely friendship between a kitten and a bird – you know the one I’m talking about.

I bet one thing that doesn’t come to your mind when you think of social media (unless you read the title of this article) is identity theft. But if you think about it, based on all of the personal information people share about themselves, social media sites are an identity thief’s delight. As innocent as it may seem, posting a photo and caption of you with your dog Wagner, for example, could reveal the answer to one of your Online Banking security questions.

You should always be monitoring your accounts to ensure all transactions were authorized by you. This includes your checking, savings, credit card and line of credit accounts, etc. and can easily be done through Online and Mobile Banking. But there are measures you can take to mitigate your risk of being a victim of fraudulent activity to begin with.

Here are some best practices that allow you to balance being active on social media and being smart about protecting your identity:
  • Use unique user names and passwords for each profile, and change your passwords regularly.
  • Utilize privacy settings, and only connect with people that you know – I mean really know, like in real life.
  • Minimize the amount of personal information you include in your profiles. When possible, try to avoid including your full name, birthday, address, hometown etc.
  • Be smart about what you post. Do not give away personal identifying information that someone could potentially use against you.
  • Be cautious of what you download. I know that a link promising a video of a turtle on roller skates seems irresistible (what is it with those animal videos??), but try to muster up some self-control and make sure to verify the source of a link before clicking on it.
  • Use common sense. When in doubt, don’t do it.

Have I officially scared you away from ever using social media? I hope not. When used smartly, it’s a great tool that allows you to easily stay connected with your friends and family. You just have to use that noggin of yours and think before you post.

What to do if you are the victim of identity theft

The Federal Trade Commission has recently announced the launch of a new website, IdentityTheft.gov, a resource that makes it easier for victims to report and recover from identity theft. The website includes an interactive checklist that walks you through the recovery process. It also includes sample letters, specialized tips for specific types of identity theft, and advice for people who have been notified that their personal information was exposed in a data breach. See? The internet isn’t all bad.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Top ATM Safety Tips

It's Fraud Season: Protect Yourself

How Identity Thieves Steal Your Information

1st Mariner Celebrates 20 Years with Random Acts of Kindness

by Stacy Tharp 25. June 2015

This year marks the 20th that 1st Mariner Bank has been in business as Baltimore's community bank. As our way of saying thank you to the Baltimore community for helping us reach this milestone, we decided to give back. To kick things off, we've teamed up with WBFF-Fox45 to perform Random Acts of Kindness to members of our community. The first random act took place on Monday, June 22nd at the 6340 York Road Giant Food Store. Click on the video below to check it out!


Random Acts of Kindness


The next random act of kindness will take place on Monday, June 29th at the 1400 Merritt Blvd, Dundalk Giant. We also have a number of other surprises that will take place throughout the rest of the year. Stay tuned for more details!

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