Chelsea Tucker, CUPs Coffeehouse
As the Baltimore Corps Fellow at CUPs Coffeehouse, a nonprofit coffeehouse that employs and empowers at-risk youth, Chelsea is working to develop and advance the CUPs model so that it may continue to grow and expand throughout the city. In her role, Chelsea rallies stakeholders, volunteers, city representatives, and other Baltimoreans to foster financially independent leaders through the CUPs workforce development program.
Having previously served an AmeriCorps term in Baltimore, Chelsea has witnessed the detrimental effects of food deserts, poor education standards, and a lack of employment opportunities. It is her hope that, one day, all Baltimore neighborhoods will have equal and sufficient access to these core components. Chelsea has also seen the unique drive that Baltimoreans have to improve and better their city, and she is honored to proclaim herself a passionate 'transplant' Baltimorean. Chelsea is an avid runner, gardener, and dog lover. She is currently enrolled in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Master's Program at Johns Hopkins University, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University.
Why do you choose to live and work in Baltimore?
I have never seen any place come together like Baltimore city does; there are so many communities, comprised of both Baltimore natives and transplants, that want to see their community and city succeed. Baltimoreans are invested in transforming their community – in creating community gardens and establishing recycling programs, in employing youth directly from their neighborhood, in bettering their local school, and in a variety of other initiatives. With over 200 neighborhoods within the city’s limits, there is a whole lot of work, passion, and love constantly being spread! I truly believe that, for this reason, Baltimore is undoubtedly the most ‘charming’ city in the nation, and the best place to live!
What's one surprising fact about yourself?
I was born on a sheep farm in rural northern Pennsylvania where I spent my days running through the fields, playing in our family’s infamous ‘rock pile’, and catching salamanders in our pond. I grew up without a functioning TV, and in an area where the nearest grocery store was nearly an hour away. My life there is absolutely a different one than my life in Baltimore, but over the past year, as I’ve begun to call Baltimore my home, I’ve learned that a lot of the rules of farm life apply to my Baltimore life as well. Our farm is on the dead end of a dirt road in Pennsylvania, so whenever a car goes by, we would always run outside to say hello; you never know who you might miss in Baltimore, and there are so many stories to be heard. Always saying hello and being open to meeting new people has allowed me to learn first-hand why it’s called ‘Charm City’ and allowed me to feel even more at home, and less like a transplant, daily. Farm girl turned Baltimorean, and loving it!
An apple with a giant dollop of chunky peanut butter!