Birdland Community Heroes: Demetria Boyd
Throughout the season, the Orioles are proud to recognize outstanding individuals who are serving our community as Birdland Community Heroes.
This week, the Orioles are honoring Demetria Boyd, a volunteer for Marian House. Marian House is a holistic, healing community for women and their children who are in need of housing and support services. They provide a safe, sober, and loving environment that challenges women to respect and love themselves, confront emotional and socioeconomic barriers, and transition to stable and independent lives. This weekend, Marian House is hosting their 12th Annual Race to Embrace Independence Virtual 5k.
In honor of Demetria, the Orioles Charitable Foundation is donating $2,500 to Marian House. Read more about Demetria and her experience with Marian House below.
Can you explain Marian House and the work you do? Why is it important?
Marian House provides rehabilitative services and housing for women and their children. Many of these women are experiencing homelessness, physical and/or sexual abuse, drug addiction, and other traumas that adversely affect them and their children.
Annually, I assemble a team of family and friends, Team Pamdukes, to run the Race to Embrace Independence 5K and raise funds in memory of my mother, Pamela Boyd. Prior to my mom passing away in September 2012, she was a resident of Marian House. This year, I serve on the 5K planning committee, leading the Marketing & Runner Recruitment subcommittee and helping other subcommittees as needed.
Marian House is important because the organization provides a holistic approach to the women’s healing. The women are able to focus on themselves and do the healing work needed with the resources and support of counselors readily available. I was able to witness this firsthand as my mother progressed through their program.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the organization?
This has been a challenging time for everyone, but especially for individuals who have experienced trauma, isolation, and fear throughout their lives – which is true for every woman Marian House serves. Program participants are most vulnerable during times of instability. Staff have worked very hard to keep things as consistent for them as possible as the world around them continues to change.
Marian House has faced unique challenges, particularly in their congregate living, transitional programs. In-person volunteer activities have paused and early on, only essential staff were onsite with others working remotely. Marian House adapted with the help of tele-health platforms.
The organization has had increased, COVID-19 related costs in the midst of economic instability that is sure to affect it’s fundraising for the immediate future. That’s why the support of this virtual 5K means so much this year!
What does it mean to be recognized as a Birdland Community Hero?
Growing up part of underserved communities in Baltimore City, my goal has always been to better myself and give back to the city that I love. I was not sure how that would look, but in the last year I felt a shift in my spirit. I longed to do more meaningful work outside of my regular 9 to 5, so I volunteered for the 5K planning committee. Making the decision to leave my job this past July opened up the space and freedom to work with Marian House more. I am finally able to give back to my city, to its women and children (many of whom look like my mom and me). Never did I consider that this would be something noticed outside of my small circle. Being recognized as a Birdland Community Hero is such an honor. It is encouraging to me to continue my journey of community service.
As part of your recognition, Marian House is receiving a $2,500 donation from the Orioles Charitable Foundation. What does this mean to you? Who will it help?
This is big! I have solicited thousands of dollars for Marian House from individuals over the years, one person at a time. While, I have collated a steady pool of supporters, it takes time for those to add up and my totals have appeared to plateau in recent years. I was looking for ways to change this, but COVID-19 altered those plans. A lump sum of $2,500 means a lot. The money will be put to good use helping the community of women to heal from addiction, homelessness, incarceration, mental illness, and other traumas as the organization continues to operate in the midst of a global pandemic.
Can you explain this weekend’s virtual 5K event?
This year I was able to help come up with ideas as we had to transition the 5K from an in person event, usually held at Lake Montebello, to a fully virtual event. You can log your 1 mile - 5K anytime Saturday, September 19th through Sunday, September 27th. This can be completed by foot, bike, treadmill, pool, etc. all at one time or over the course of the week. Marian House with have various content posted online day during this time to compensate for our normal race day activities. Your T-shirt and bib will be mail to you upon registration.
Is there anything else you’d like our fans to know about yourself or Marian House?
I don’t know that my mom could have tackled the drug addiction and depression without the communal support of Marian House. I appreciate their work in the community and how they welcomed me in when I wanted to increase my role. I look forward to a future with them and working with other nonprofits in the community. I would like to encourage people to volunteer and give back to communities however they are able to. A little goes a long way!