THE Repair Generation Cori Snyder started small but plans to help many

April 25, 1993|By Daniel M. Amdur | Daniel M. Amdur,Contributing Writer

When Cori Snyder talks about why she started the volunteer program Hands on Baltimore, she tells a story.

One day, she says, thousands of starfish washed up on a beach by a village. A little girl from the village saw the starfish and started to throw them back in the water when an older man walked up and asked her, "Why do you bother? You can't make a difference?"

So the little girl thought for a minute, picked up a starfish and threw it as far as she could into the sea. Then she turned to the man and said, "I just made a difference to that one."

"I can sit here and say I want to save the world, but that's not realistic," says the 23-year-old Baltimore resident. "So I just want to start small and save as many starfish as I can."

Recently, Ms. Snyder quit her job with Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, a management organization servicing the city, to become executive director and president of Hands on Baltimore, which she started in December. The non-profit organization is one of a chain of groups in cities throughout the country designed to promote volunteering among young professionals.

The group sends out a calendar to potential volunteers seeking help on various projects from working at soup kitchens to planting trees to being a companion to a senior citizen. Participants can choose as many or as few projects as they like.

"I think people really do want to get involved in their community, ++ but they don't know how," says Ms. Snyder. "If I didn't make it easy for them, who would?"

With 130 volunteers so far, Ms. Snyder is excited but not surprised at the level of interest people have shown.

"I think that more and more people in the twentysomething generation have felt the effects of society's problems," she says. "Someone's got to pay the piper, and I think our generation realizes it's going to be them."

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