The St. Francis Reader                           May 2015
      
St. Francis Neighborhood Center
               


A Note from the Executive Director

   

As I reflect back on the last few weeks, a
Me (in Orioles gear), and staff assign duties for cleanup day May 2.
Board Member made a statement that really resonated with me--with our 52 year presence and impact in the community-- and just a few blocks from the riots and unrest, St. Francis Neighborhood Center was an "Island of Calm & Stability." I am thankful for the many community residents, staff, partners, volunteers, board of directors, and contributors who came together in unity and care.  With no access to our closest stores, and residing in a food desert, we joined our partners: Whole Foods of Mt. Washington, Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Samaritan Community, Councilman Nick Mosby, and Baltimore Green Works to form a geographical triangle of the effected area and served over 300 lunches everyday for 6 days.  In addition, Whole Foods Mt. Washington donated an entire truckload of food, delivered to the Center one week from the day of the riots-- and collectively, we were able to ensure those most in need could eat.  With over 1,400 children in the area living below poverty, the need is great.

 
Prior to the unrest, NBC Nightly News expressed interest in our Power Project after school youth program for kids ages 5-14 in the neighborhood.  We had previously interviewed with them multiple times--but when the riots began, the story changed.  On Wednesday, April 29, we had additional volunteers attend the program, giving the children a chance to receive counseling and mediation after Monday's events.  We also gave the kids a chance "just to be kids," to be safe and play on the playground--the Girl Scouts came prepared with activities, the Orioles staff served the kids dinner, guest professionals spent quality time with our young people, and the NBC reporter filmed and interviewed the children and parents about what happened.  Our kids have a powerful voice!  To see the interview, click here. 
 
We continued ahead with our already scheduled Center community cleanup on Saturday May 2, to reinforce our message of self-empowerment, personal and environmental responsibility, and community activism--all at the core of the Center's guiding principles. WJZ-TV covered the effort, stating: "Several cleanup efforts are still going on after this week's riot on Monday. One group saw its volunteer list morph from a handful of people to hundreds looking to give back to the city. The destruction that came from looters this week disappears at community cleanups happening across the city since Monday's riots. One of the weekend's street sweeps was at the St. Francis Community Center in Reservoir Hill, just blocks away from one of the most destructive riots." (May 2, 2015)


Johns Hopkins student volunteers who attended our community cleanup share a message that resonates with the Center's mission:
 

"Community building in any small step is really building towards any great conclusion," said volunteer Isabella Bowker. This gets closure to the most affected neighborhoods for healing. This violence just didn't start on Monday. It's always been going on and people have just been trying to show that we're part of this community," said Kebede. "We're trying to help."


Please see the complete coverage at http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2015/05/02/cleanup-efforts-continue-after-mondays-riot/.


Many have asked--"Are things back to normal?"  What is the "new" normal?  We are hopeful for the continued support of the Center and neighborhood and we are thankful for all of you.  You make the difference.
 


 


 


 


 

 

 
To Volunteer, email mhammond@stfranciscenter.org
 
 

 

 


St. Francis Neighborhood Center
2405 Linden Ave. Baltimore, MD 21217  
Staff
Christi Green, Executive Director 
Jessica Childress, Youth Program Manager
William Drew, Teaching Instructor
Jenna Gray, Teaching Instructor
Torbin Green, Outreach & Program Director
Montressa Hammond, Volunteer Maryland Coordinator
Lydia Mesekale, Teaching Instructor
Richard Davis, Facilities Janitor