It’s cliche, I know. But as the old adage goes, it really does take a village to raise a child. Perhaps no other community in Baltimore embodies that mantra quite like Hamilton-Lauraville and their HL-Sprouts organization.
What is HL-Sprouts? A volunteer-led community of families with children ages newborn through 12 years old in Northeast Baltimore. The goal of the organization is to support city life for families, but the unofficial motto of leader Meaghan Grace describes the group best:
“We all sprout together.”
To say the group is diverse is an understatement. It’s a melting pot of families of all backgrounds and all blends. Some have lived in their area their whole lives. Some just a short time. Although the stories of how they came to the community may be different, one common sentiment wove itself through all of our conversations.
“I never felt like I was home until I moved here,” said Berber Poplin. The mom of two grew up in the Netherlands and lived in seven different places over the last decade.
That same sense of commitment and love for their community is evident through the calendar of family-friendly opportunities that volunteers and business owners work to offer those who are not only their neighbors, but their friends. Why? Simply because these shared experiences make life in their little slice of Baltimore even more enjoyable. Dare to even say more magical for their kids. A pop-up MLK Day play date at Red Canoe Cafe and Bookstore. Community Tree lighting at Walther Gardens. Bedtime stories at the local library branch. Kidzibit fun at recently re-opened Clementine where kids enjoyed Shirley Temple mocktails and made art for the restaurant’s walls.
But the strength of the community foundation neighbors in Hamilton-Lauraville built has been most evident during the last week — when a fire tested it. News of the Malone family fire shook all of us — those in the Greater Baltimore area and beyond. HL Sprouts didn’t stand motionless. In the wake of an indescribable tragedy that took the lives of 6 community children, they organized a framework to support the Malones through the crisis organizations already providing services. They took on the role of respectfully providing information to their community while understanding the family’s need for privacy and space to grieve. The group also collectively recognized that their children lost friends that day. HL Sprouts is taking action to provide avenues of healing for their own community and to provide tangible support to a family who has lost so much.
“Passion to serve and help others in need is a great gift to hold,” wrote Meaghan on the HL Sprouts community Facebook page.
It also makes for wonderful neighbors.
Sending lots of love to the HL Sprouts community.