Voices Around the City

Alumni share their passion for Baltimore, and why they've made this city their home after Loyola

By Magazine Staff  |  Photos by Malia Leary; Daniel Bedell

“I dream of a Baltimore where everyone recognizes their  own value and worth and is given the opportunity to  actualize that value.”

Arlene Hackbarth, LCPC, ’81, M.S. ’85, is the clinical director at The Baltimore Station, a therapeutic residential treatment  program supporting veterans and others transitioning through the cycle of poverty, addiction, and homelessness to self-sufficiency.

“It’s a small town with big charisma that is unbashful, yet charming. It has various social problems, and I’ve heard stories and seen things that have broken my heart… but I’ve also seen several organizations and agencies working to rectify those problems, allowing for redemption and transformation to take place.”

Justin White, ’09, is the director of community service and outreach at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore, where he also teaches theology.


“I really hope Baltimore and all of us that live here take time to look  at the positives and reach out to the poor and underserved that we have the gifts to help.”

Collin Kourtz, ’13, works as a patient advocate at Mercy Medical Center through the Mercy Volunteer Corps.


“The electricity I sense in Baltimore gives me great hope for the future. I say this not to discount a lot of the pain, poverty, and injustice felt today. There is an urgency we must summon soon, for justice has been waiting in the wings too long. But recent times in Baltimore have only driven community leaders to greater collaboration. Through this communication,  I hope a united front can efficiently address a lot of the  persisting problems in our midst.”

Steve Pomplon, ’06, is director of social service at Notre Dame Preparatory School and director of Camp Umoja, a non-profit that provides after-school and summer programming for children who live in public housing through the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.

“I hope the unrest of 2015 serves as a catalyst for real change in Baltimore, in the way we look at our city, its shortcomings, and its promise.”

Jim Grandsire, ’93, M.Ed. ’02, is assistant principal at a charter school in East Baltimore.


“Baltimore is a city that doesn’t need saving. It needs people who know how to work within the existing framework. When you fall in love with the city as much as I have, any negative  is seen as an opportunity to improve the city, not a blight on its record. I would love to see Baltimore as a city where people not only understand the racial and socioeconomic differences that are apparent, but also work toward bridging gaps between communities.”

Nick Hawkins, ’08, serves on Under Armour’s legal team as assistant counsel.

“I love that Baltimore isn’t a perfect city. I have been involved in social justice efforts from the start of my time at Loyola via the Center for Community Service and Justice, and I continue to stay involved today. There is work that needs to be done to get Baltimore to a place of harmony, and there is such a strong force and presence in the city, where people actually care about it to help get it there.”

T.J. Scalforo, ’13, works as corporate sponsor representative at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore.


“I believe the events last spring served as a wake-up call for Baltimore and that this community is closer than ever before. Everywhere you look people are doing good: supporting The Book Thing after its fire, increasing opportunities for youth employment, opening food pantries and Safe Streets, creating mentor support networks, opening space for dialogue, and more. This city is strong, tight, and resilient, and I’m not worried at all. We’re bouncing back. It just takes time and a continuous pool of resources to make it happen.”

Elizabeth Awalt, M.A. ’17, works as the communications/social media coordinator for the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen (Archdiocese of Baltimore). She is the co-founder/co-director of The Starfish Foundation Inc.


“I first hope we find a way to provide safe, affordable housing for all families who wish to have it. Nothing breaks the positive cycle of life more than not knowing where you’ll be sleeping next month. Once we help provide affordable housing, access to high-quality education for all youth is an imperative. We have to stop accepting mediocre performance and expectations for our youth and those supporting our youth.”

Todd R. Langenberg, ’93, is director of development and institutional advancement for Loyola Blakefield High School. He serves on the board of the Hampden Family Center, which provides supportive services to families in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood.


“You need to know Baltimore to love it. Once you get to know the people and the hidden ‘charms,’ that’s when Baltimore will really start to grow on you. The people of Baltimore have substance and grit. And there are so many hidden gems to discover in this city.”

Jeannine Parsoneault Sydnor, ’02, is associate director for partner relations at Year Up, a not-for-profit that helps Baltimore City high school graduates who are 18-24 years old gain access to the educational and employment opportunities that will allow them to take care of their families and realize their full potential—and end the cycle of poverty.


“Baltimore has shown me the kind of person I am. There are people here helping to create community centers, start mentoring programs, cultivate sustainable urban gardens, grow small businesses, inspire generations of artists, and raise awareness of systemic issues that impact opportunities—just to name a few. Through the incredible people I have met and organizations I have been blessed to be a part of, Baltimore has challenged me to discern my role in making the world a better place.”

Brendan O’Kane, ’07, M.Ed. ’11, MTS ’15, is director of campus ministry for Loyola Blakefield High School. He also participates in Next One Up, an organization that offers mentoring, study halls, workshops on high school and college applications, and other support to advance the academic, athletic, and social development of young men in Baltimore City.

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1 Comment

  • Posted by Buzz Dietz | November 19, 2016

    As a ’64 alum and a Baltimore native, I deeply miss the culture that I was a part of. I commend Loyola magazine for providing that.

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