Leah Bunck leaving DRC to head home to Ohio
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 12:22
by Ben Boehl

    It is an end of an era at the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation (DRC); the group’s Community Projects Coordinator, Leah Bunck, is leaving after three years.
    Bunck, an Ohio native, is returning home with her husband Todd Sautters to take a job at a non-profit organization  in her home town of Troy.
    “We knew we wanted to go back to Ohio; we just didn’t know when,” Bunck said. “[When I was offered the job], I thought about it a lot and decided to go back home.”
    Bunck said she came to the Baltimore area to get her master’s degree in social work at the University of Maryland at Baltimore and then heard about the job opening at the DRC from one of her professors.
    She and Sautters moved here together from Ohio. The couple got married last December.
    “I’m going to miss all the great people, from the volunteers to the community groups,” Bunck said.
    “I’m proud to have worked for such a supportive staff at the DRC, who really wants to help this community.”
    DRC Executive Director Amy Menzer said that Bunck brought great energy and enthusiasm to solve challenges and problems.
    “Sometimes, those of us who have lived in the community for a long time can become pessimistic and become our own worst enemy,” Menzer said. “Revitalization is difficult, but attitude matters. Leah brought positive attitude in spades.”
    According to Menzer, Bunck came up with the idea of getting a volunteer to plant and water all the  main street planters after funding was cut.
    Bunck has also been known for reaching out to the community and was instrumental in creating  a community coalition as part of the Neighbors In Deed program, which was funded by a grant from the Baltimore Community Foundation.
    Groups in the Dundalk areas that take part in the coalition include neighborhood associations in Colgate, North Point Village, Norwood and St. Helena.
    Bunck also took part in greening efforts that included planting trees, coordinating awareness  of litter issues — such as the “Don’t Trash Our Dundalk” program and community cleanups — by working with members of Clean Bread and Cheese Creek and the Back River Restoration Committee.
    “I’m proud we were able to grow our greening program and we were able to foster relationships that we never had before,” Bunck added.
    Those relationships included working with seniors at Key Point Rehabilitation Center and FutureCare on North Point Road.     
    Bunck said she was happy to work with the Dundalk YMCA and its New Horizon Program that recruited local youths to help clean up the community last summer.
    Menzer said that Bunck has done a great job of finding volunteers and developing partnerships, but she said she is most proud of Bunck’s work with last year’s “pop-up shop.”
    “Leah’s greatest accomplishment is probably organizing the three-month pop-up shop in our main street in a vacant storefront, which then lead to a new business locating in our main street, Little Crystal Bijoux,” Menzer added.  
    “We hope to recruit and grow more businesses through another pop-up shop and starting a main street business incubator.”  
    Although she is on her way out, Bunk still wants to finish up as many projects as she can before heading home.
    That includes laying the groundwork for another pop-up shop, and a smaller version of the annual “Don’t Trash Our Dundalk” Campaign. Her last day on the job will be this Saturday.
    “I want to say ‘thanks’ to anyone that has ever came out and volunteered. I will miss everyone,” Bunck said.