One of the many reasons I chose Rutgers Law School for my legal education is because of its connection to the Camden community. During my time at Rutgers I have been able to work within Camden through various organizations and pro bono projects. Through the Rutgers Women’s Law Caucus, one incredible organization I work with is a mentorship program called I Dare to Care (ID2C).
Pamela Grayson-Baltimore (also known as “Ms. Pam”) launched ID2C on April 3, 2008 from her residence in Camden. Ms. Pam worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for over 20 years. Through her work she recognized the overwhelming need for positive female role models among the young women in Camden. Inspired by her mentors, Ms. Pam created a program that provides educational, vocational, and therapeutic resources not only for young women but for their families as well.
Participants at ID2C meet once a week during the academic year and participate in activities to promote community service, team building, and civic engagement. Each week, exercises are designed to encourage positive family interactions, emphasize community involvement, and develop a worldview based on connection to humanity. The girls simultaneously learn how to overcome obstacles and recognize the power of their voices and the value of their lives.
Since the beginning of ID2C in 2008, enrollment grew so much that operations had to move out of Ms. Pam’s home and into a much larger facility. This past semester the e-board of the Women’s Law Caucus had the opportunity to visit the new ID2C facility and see where all the magic happens. Upon entering the building, you can immediately tell that this is a safe place. Renovated from the framework of an old school, there are dance studios, a gymnastics gym, multi-purpose rooms, toddler-friendly areas, meditation spaces, game areas, a kitchen and so much more. Anyone who enters ID2C can see how much thought, hard work and love that goes into this program every single day.
As a class representative for the Women’s Law Caucus, it has been my responsibility to work with Ms. Pam to organize different events between the girls at ID2C and the law students. In addition to visiting ID2C’s facility, we planned a mock trial event to simulate judicial proceedings, a conference to raise awareness on mental health, and our annual Mr. Law School Pageant which fundraises to help support ID2C activities. Unfortunately, due to the impacts of COVID-19, we did not have the opportunity to host these events this year, but we plan to reunite with ID2C in the fall semester.
Altogether, I feel ID2C is one of the greatest connections Rutgers Law has with the Camden community. Ms. Pam and all those who work at ID2C are creating a pathway for a new generation of strong-willed and exceptional women. I hope they remember Rutgers Law and become a part of our community as law students one day.