There is something about the Charm City unbeknownst to the rest of the metropolitan cities that surround it. Could it be the raw of M&T Stadium one of this given Sundays or the rage of the thunderous atmosphere of the Orioles’ next door?
Maybe the hustle and bustle spirit of the people who call this great city home. Bal-da-more is a city of old, but with an essence that’s unmatched and envied. There is a sound that is all too loud, but manages to be overlooked as if it were as silent as a baby sleeping. Sadly the Youth of this historic American city are being denied the fundamental structures of bringing about tomorrow’s productive future.
The world’s most recognized glimpse into Baltimore and its plight of poverty and violence came in the form of the HBO Drama The Wire. Although the depictions of young men and women engaging in everything from drugs to blatant violence, have been confirmed as life for many, the cameras have since stopped rolling.
Except now, the actors are children of single parent homes, young women afraid of their surroundings that they seek solace in the hands of violent minded young men with no direction.
According to Dr. Kristen Mmari of Johns Hopkins Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, 50% of 15 to 19-year-old girls in Baltimore, have gotten pregnant in their lifetime, and more than 10% of girls report being victims of rape or assault by someone other than their significant others.
The homicide rate in Baltimore has fallen in the past few years, but many residents still live on the edge with the growing amount of young men turning to the streets. Mmari went on to say that children have begun to raise themselves, and suffer from the lack of “social cohesion”. A term used to describe the support system that comes from one’s family and community. It has been national news that there is a distrust of law enforcement and impoverished communities.
We have also seen that teachers’ passion for molding the children fall exponentially for past few decades. Which has caused anger among our youth, anger left unspoken. Silenced and fueled by bullying, peer pressure, and the lack of identity. Our children are confused, naïve, and lost by nature, yet forced to grow up with nothing but what their understanding of the world is as they see it. Without the love, guidance, and reassurance of a community they so desperately need.
Young men and women in Baltimore have nearly little to no example of role models that are willing to work closely with them. After school programs in the city have become scarce, many youth recreational centers were closed in 2013 due to pulled funding, and only privately funded programs remain that are unable to take on the amount of children that are seeking a better way.
But there are those that are hopeful for the future of Baltimore. A select few that are willing to have a conversation and put into action the needs of our Youth. Meet Tami Sylverain, co-founder of “The Crash Pad” Program, along with her husband, Henry.
A Baltimore native, who recently moved back to the city in hopes of creating a recreational center that would consist of a recording studio, Media Center, Counselors on hand, and a top floor that would temporarily house runaways. “Our Mission is to assist in enhancing the lives of underprivileged high school and college age children. Giving them a place where they can feel safe to be themselves without ridicule, prejudice or bullying. Offering services that will help them become productive citizens in society through media, counseling, job preparation and camaraderie.”
Baltimore is the charm city. A mecca of undiscovered talent, vision, and ambition that can be felt by just looking into the eyes of the young. The tears of the old that pray for them, and the many that fall in the middle just trying to make it day-to-day. The cliché phrase that would be apropos for this read would be that it’s time for a change. I tell you that the saying, the debating, the politically correct remarks, and the just hoping has had its seat at the table for too long.
Action, take a seat. Implementation, here is you knife and fork. Resilience, say grace. All are invited to this table, are you willing to go dutch?