The Training Source Celebrates 25 Years Of Aiding Prince Georgians – And Surviving
By Raoul Dennis // Photography By Amir Stoudamire
Sen. Joanne C. Benson never bites her tongue and she has a knack for cutting through the fog of an issue.
“When somebody is doing good work, we ought to have the good sense to support them,” Benson said to a crowd of nearly 150 people who gathered to celebrate The Training Source’s 25th Anniversary Gala Nov. 1 (see photos here). Reach Media’s National News Correspondent Ebony McMorris served as Mistress Of Ceremonies.
The Training Source aims “to ensure that adults and youth have the support and life skills, professional skills and technical skills needed to pursue higher education and careers, secure and retain employment, and achieve long-term economic stability.”
Over the years, it’s estimated that The Training Source aided over 20,000 clients. It’s a living testament that The Training Source’s Founder and Executive Director Kim Rhim encounters regularly as she shares experiences of multiple generations of family members signing up at The Training Source for support. Indeed, in the early days of the organization’s start, Rhim recalls enlisting her mother, Muriel E. Marshall, a retired Baltimore City Public School Adult Education Teacher -- to come out of retirement for 2 years to help build a curriculum that would lead to life-changing results for adult learners. Rhim recounts the way that staff and supporters inadvertently cross paths with former Training Source clients by social circles, marriage, business affiliations and church acquaintances.
Benson presented The Training Source with a Maryland General Assembly official citation for its 25 year celebration Engineered for Excellence: Building Bridges to the Future.
“I could [go] on and on talking about The Training Source. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit The Training Source, you need to do it. Your heart will be made glad when you see those students working and the divine unselfish staff and volunteers who are helping people who have lost their jobs and came there looking for hope and help.”
Benson led a chorus of voices throughout the evening exalting the meaningful work that The Training Source does to improve the lives of residents and small business owners.
Among them, County Council Chair Danielle Glaros gave remarks that brought almost chilling reality to the need to support nonprofits like The Training Source systemically.
“We must support nonprofits like The Training Source,” Glaros said of the need to preserve the institutions as current leaders eventually retire. “We must find ways to support them or shame on us for not doing so.”
Glaros’ recognition of Rhim’s career commitment to launch and maintain The Training Source may have been grounded in deeper roots than she realized. A profound video was shown at the gala of Rhim’s September 8, 1984 marriage to her husband, Michael, at the United Church of Christ in Baltimore where where she grew up. In the video, the couple is seen exchanging profound and unique wedding vows, written by then Pastor Wendell H. Phillips who presided over the ceremony. The vows made before God, family and friends included the young couple’s commitment to passionate, long-term dedication to service to community. They were not solely making a commitment to one another, they were also making a commitment to community service.
“Yes, this commitment is woven into our marriage,” Rhim later said. “It was put on my heart to do this and we are still here. My family is very much a part of it. I could not do this without my family. My husband sometimes jokes with me that it would be easier for him to ‘compete’ with this work if it were another man. He could just deal with that. But this is different and he understands that. So, I’m here and I’m sure when [the] Lord wants me to move in another direction, He will put that on my heart too. Until then, I will be here.”
The Training Source’s new board chair Gloria B. Thornwell is at the center of the organization’s vision plans and put the call out for other professionals to join the effort on the board. “We want your time, talent and treasure,” she said to help move the work of The Training Source forward and that now is the time to step up.
Sounds good. No tongue biting around here.