With well-respected volunteer Ted Florenz reaching his two-term limit as president of Serving People Across Neighborhoods (SPAN), Kathy Berge stepped into the role on January 13. Berge is a member of St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal Church, and a SPAN board representative. Below, she shared her background and her goals for SPAN.
I have been involved with nonprofits for 40-plus years, starting with gathering food and clothing at my home to distribute to those in need as requested by schools and social services. I am currently working with my family to establish a nonprofit community center in Port Deposit, I am part of the St. Martin’s outreach committee, I am the coordinator for St. Martin’s Winter Relief service for Arundel House of Hope, I provide pro bono services to several families in need in Baltimore City, and I act as an advocate for individuals in assisted living when asked.
By profession I am an occupational therapist and practiced in the field of psychiatry in Baltimore City as senior therapist/assistant director. As such, I understand the impact that poverty has on both the individual and the family and the obstacles that they face on a daily basis. I have had extensive training in the cycle of poverty and the impact that poverty has on society. I have had the privilege of providing training, intervention, advocacy and support for our most venerable population. I have witnessed firsthand the success and defeat of the people I have served, and I have the utmost respect for them as individuals and the way they face their daily challenges.
Since helping those in need is my passion, it is great to be able to be a part of such a stellar organization as SPAN and it is time for me to step up and become more active. I have been a member of the board of directors for SPAN for approximately eight years and believe in the mission of SPAN. Through these years, I have sat on committees such as the 25th anniversary celebration for SPAN and chairing the selection committee for the hiring of a new director to name a few.
I have sat on the board of directors and the executive board of directors for multiple organizations for many years and have chaired the charity committee for the Foundation for Families for approximately eight years. As such, I planned, coordinated and executed food store deliveries to a central location, packing of the food, securing volunteers, and the delivery of 360 meals for Thanksgiving to the homes of families in need in Baltimore County and Baltimore City. I planned, coordinated and executed cookouts with face painting, picture booths, tattoos and karaoke for the children at St. Vincent’s. I was charged with vetting all requests for donations, developing criteria for donation distributions, and developing procedures and mechanisms to meet the standards and remain in compliance with Maryland regulations.