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.