Any IND grad will tell you, going to school on Aisquith Street forever shaped the woman she is today. Serving others in downtown Baltimore is a huge part of an IND girl’s education. It’s been described as “incredibly moving,” “eye-opening” and “life-changing.”
Although all schools emphasize service, their distance from the city and large verdant campuses insulate them from urban social justice issues. Not so at IND. We tend to attract the type of girl who wants a “real-world” experience. For them, IND provides a safe place to learn how to problem solve, give and reach out. Throughout the year they donate, make and directly give food to the poor and homeless.To hand food directly to a hungry person is life-changing, something a girl never forgets.
All Faiths are Welcome
Although IND is Catholic, we welcome girls from all faiths. In fact, 40% of our students practice other religions. Their families choose IND because it is an excellent school that values and celebrates everyone.
In 2015, Catholic Charities honored Sister Hilda Marie Sutherland SSND and IND students with the Anne Lindsay Otenasek Youth Service Award. IND was recognized by their “extraordinary example and commitment to assisting our neighbors in need, including preparing and serving meals to guests at Our Daily Bread, for being Sunday Special Friends to the individuals at Gallagher Services and for making Christmas celebrations for families in community housing.”
IND begins each new year with a fair informing students of all the clubs, activities and organizations they can join. With 40-plus offerings, there is something for everyone. The most popular ones are our service clubs. Last year:
50 percent of IND students signed up to serve as Hildie’s Helpers,
26 percent joined Peer Ministry, and
21 percent joined Project kIND
After four years, our students leave our historic home, proud and aware of the difference they have made in the lives of so many. They have gained a unique consciousness of social justice, an ethic of citizenship and a commitment to service learned on Aisquith Street that lasts their whole lives long.
Each year, Hildie’s Helpers provides Thanksgiving dinners for our neighbors in need. In 2017, IND girls delivered turkeys and all the trimmings to 55 families. Led by Sister Hilda “Hildie” Marie Sutherland SSND, the group collected food from the IND community, with IND’s Fathers Club contributing the turkeys. Come holiday week, the girls personally deliver the food to each home in a lovingly decorated box.
IND girls mentor younger girls at inner-city schools through Project kIND, which celebrates its 13 years this year. Through the program, IND students build long lasting relationships, which make a remarkable difference in both the big and the little girls’ lives. The program helps younger students gain self-esteem, improve academic skills and feel special. The student leaders gain a sense of leadership and empowerment. That is because IND students actually lead Project kIND. They serve on the school boards, write funding grants, give presentations, keep records and schedule activities.
During the summer, the historic halls of IND echo with the laughter of much younger girls as the TamarIND program takes over. TamarIND means “Take a Month Around IND,” although the program now lasts six weeks. It’s also a beautiful plant that grows in hot humid conditions, like Baltimore. IND students and graduates have been serving as volunteer counselors to 40–50 young girls for nearly every one of the past 20 years. The younger girls enjoy dance, drama, arts, health, fitness and spiritual projects. TamarIND ends with a liturgical performance for family and friends in which the girls present and share their learning. Several present and past IND students began their relationship with IND as TamarIND attendees.