Name: Kaitlyn Cohen
Year: Class of 2014
Hometown: Toms River, NJ
Bike and Build: Pedaling for Affordable Housing
Throughout my past four years at Hopkins, one of the questions I get asked the most is “How do you like Baltimore?” Every time, I answer the same way – I love it. For some people, this comes as a big surprise. Baltimore doesn’t always have the best reputation, but all of my experiences in the city have shown me the very lovable side of Charm City.
One of the most impactful experiences that have helped me love Baltimore has been volunteering with Sandtown Habitat for Humanity. I started working with Habitat while in high school, and fell in love with the organization. Baltimore has a lot of vacant row homes, and Sandtown Habitat works to convert these vacants into livable homes for families. There is something so satisfying about spending a day building, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s such a great cause!
Having access to affordable housing is something so important for living a happy, healthy life, and unfortunately it can be very difficult to come by. Groups like Habitat for Humanity and other affordable housing initiatives help bridge the gap by providing homes at cost to the proud new homeowners. Working on the construction aspect is always a lot of fun, but some of my favorite Habitat memories involve meeting the homeowners, hearing their stories, and then handing over the keys at the house dedication.
I love working with Habitat and believe in the need for affordable housing so much that I’ve decided to dedicate my summer advocating for affordable housing in the US. Not only do I get to raise money for groups like Habitat and spend days building, but I’ll actually be riding my bicycle from Providence, RI to Half Moon Bay, CA all for this great cause. I am one of 32 riders on Bike and Build’s Providence to CA route this summer, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Bike and Build is a non-profit that sends riders on 8 different trips across the country. Each rider has to raise $4,500 to participate, and most of that money goes straight to affordable housing groups. My trip has 15 build days; which I’m sure will be one of the highlights of the trip. I’m not an accomplished cyclist by any means, but I’m up for the challenge. Working with groups like Sandtown Habitat has really shown me how impactful every dollar donated and hour volunteered can be. I can’t think of a better way to spend my summer!
If you want more information on JHU Habitat, like our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/jhuhabitat