Highlighting Our Board Members
Carolyn Brooks is a native of Kent County. She graduated from the historic Garnet High School in Chestertown. Carolyn earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Morgan State University and a Master’s in Special Education from Coppin State College in Baltimore.
Carolyn worked for the State of Maryland Department of Labor for 43 years. She assisted jobseekers in Baltimore and the entire eastern shore of Maryland in vocational training, employment counseling and job placement. After retirement, she has devoted her time to the field of public history and has volunteered for the Washington College Starr Center and the Grand Army of the Republic Post – Sumner Hall. She is actively participating in the Chesapeake Heartland African American Humanities Project, a community partnership to document the African American experience with a focus on how racism can be undone.
In Her Own Words:
“I can remember when I was between 6-8 years old in the late 40’s, my brother and I were playing outside our house that had no running water, an outhouse and 2 and 1/3 bedrooms for six. I said to the God I serve, “When I grow up, I am going to get my mother a decent house. That day my youngest brother and I made a pact. And I have that same passion today as I had back there then. Why not, everyone should have that opportunity to have a decent home of their own to live in. I have seen relatives and others struggling day in and day out, working 2 or more jobs, some earning wages that would allow them to buy affordable housing and others earning wages that still leave them in poverty. And in both cases, they have been denied the opportunity to own their own home due to the color or their skin or ethnicity. I want to be involved in KAH because I want to help as many people as I can to have a decent home of their own and close the gap in all of these inequalities and disparities in Kent County due to Systemic Racism. Kent County has not gotten beyond the 60’s. And it’s TIME, a change has to come.”
“Seeing the look on my Mom and Dad’s faces when they moved into their brand new home in the early 70’s has driven me to want to see that look in other African American faces, a treasure well vested!”
“So, if you are as passionate as I am in seeing others’ dreams of owning their own home come true, please volunteer your talents and time, and if you are not able to volunteer your talents and time you can help with any financial support.”
Ronnie is originally from New York, she spent her professional career as an attorney for 31 years with the U.S Department of Justice in Washington D.C. She had been coming to Kent County for nearly 50 years with her late husband and relocated full-time to Galena 7 years ago. She is also an accomplished knitter and world traveler. Ronnie is an advocate for affordable housing who is also a volunteer grant writer and member of the Governance Committee
“We’ve done reasonably well with grants, though it’s a challenge. We are working on name recognition and focusing on our mission, which is to break the cycle of poverty through first-time home ownership for low income working families. We are the only non-profit in Kent County focusing on homeownership rather than home repair or rental assistance. “Most funders want to see three years of proven successful experience by an organization, so we have one more year to go.”
“It was so exciting to see our first house being delivered and to have the family so thrilled. We have an impact that everyone can see. We are looking to scale up our efforts beyond helping one Kent County family at a time. Currently our impact extends to helping 40+ families on our waiting list. They attend financial management and first-time home ownership classes to enable them to qualify for a mortgage. And we are still accepting applicants.”