Forever Charm City: How One TFA Baltimore Alumnus Is Helping Corps Members Make Baltimore Home
Inspired to keep great talent in Baltimore, learn how Pete DeCandia (Baltimore ’13) and his social entrepreneurial venture - Teacher Props - is welcoming Teach For America’s newest leaders and helping them make Baltimore home.
What led you to start Teacher Props? How did your Teach For America experience influence it?
Pete: Every year, there are new corps members that are not from Baltimore. During the summer, not only are they training to become teachers, but they also have to find housing for when they return to Baltimore. As we all know, finding a home that meets your personal and professional needs, on a budget, in a new city, can be exhausting and stressful. That’s where Teacher Props comes in.
Your first year of teaching is challenging enough as it is. What can make a huge difference in your teaching experience is a great place to come home to. Teacher Props helps teachers find places to live that they can really call home; places where they can connect with the community; places where they can relax, reflect, and recharge.
What success have you seen with Teacher Props so far?
Pete: In our first year, we placed 35 teachers, 17 of them being TFA corps members. We’ve connected with dozens of responsible property owners – many of them TFA alumni – who are looking for great people to rent out their homes and love our mission to help teachers transition into Baltimore. Teacher Props is connecting the community.'
How is your project impacting students, families, and the community?
Pete: We want to be a source of support for teachers. By guiding teachers through the rental housing market of Baltimore and helping them find a place they can call home, we hope to improve teacher retention and wellness. In addition, we’re bringing people to invest in Baltimore and in our communities.
How do you see this project as part of the movement towards ending educational inequity?
Pete: If we value teachers from the very beginning, they can be their best selves in the classrooms, and therefore, they can be effective for students. Plus, if our leaders can call Baltimore home, that means more great talent in this city. With more leaders here in Baltimore, both inside and outside of the classroom, we can all work together to bring educational equity to our students.
Looking for your new home? Check out Teacher Props today.