At any given moment, countless Baltimore youth are facing harsh realities accompanied by fading dreams. Since coming to this city, I have had many conversations. They have included everyone from the young man being raised by a single mom, now a dad himself to the young lady seeking approval from a “too busy mom” to […]

Surrounding our children

“Your children need your presence more than your presents.”  -Jesse Jackson Since 2006, I have been actively involved in the lives of young girls in the West Baltimore community of Sandtown. As I hear stories from hundreds of girls across Baltimore, a common strand appears: the absence of parents. This problem of parental absenteeism is […]

Chicken Masala with a side of mentoring

In Maryland more than 207,000 children are at risk for hunger. The same number of young people are unsupervised during the after-school hours. The child who goes home to an empty house is likely to be the same child who may not have access to food between the end of the school day and the […]

Every child should have a mentor

I attend a program called Higher Achievement where I meet with a different mentor each night.  I have three mentors. Ms. Amanda teaches me Math, Ms. Sarah teaches me Literature and Mr. Joe teaches me Seminar. Ms. Amanda allows us to talk to her about anything. Ms. Sarah is really kind and she is a […]

Project Hope

A few years ago I mentored a young man who was 14 years old. He was in an alternative school, reading at a 2nd grade level, and performing math at a 4th grade level. The previous school year he had missed somewhere around 100 days of school for various reasons. He had a loose affiliation […]

Fostering greatness by honoring beginnings

We seldom miss the opportunity to celebrate an achievement, whether it is a good report card, an acceptance into a competitive school, or a school graduation. However, with less than 15 percent of Baltimore City School students graduating from college, too often these important milestones simply never happen. My audacious idea is that we celebrate […]

Encourage young women to run for office

The typical woman who runs for office is over the age of 40.  Any earlier, and it seems too difficult to pencil in a campaign while new relationships, student loans and a wealth of opportunities beckon.  But starting later puts women at a disadvantage.  Men don’t shy away from running as early as 25, and […]

Positive youth development

Baltimore’s dropout rates and youth violence get their fair share of publicity. Blame has been placed everywhere – school structure, gangs, drug culture, family situations. What’s been lost in these conversations is a strong conviction of youth as individuals who need caring relationships with adults, nurturing environments, and stimulating activities in order to develop into […]

Protect our children

My audacious idea is that we all commit to protecting and nurturing our children. Protecting our children requires responsible parenting. It is unacceptable that any child lives in a home where he or she is not wanted and cared for. It is up to us as a community to show all children that they have […]

Eliminate the concept of fatherless in our communities

Just the other day I received an email from a young man whom I worked closely with while I was directing a Beacon School in the heart of Harlem during the early 1990’s. Victor was writing to invite me to a book signing for Bandana Republic, an anthology of poetry and prose by gang members […]