The youth of West Baltimore are exposed to some of the highest rates of poverty, violence, and drug abuse in this country. They receive little support as they try to navigate these difficult challenges. This has led to a disconnected generation whose frustrations were seen in the 2015 uprising in Baltimore in response to Freddie Gray’s death.
Maryland Community Health Initiatives (known as Penn North) is launching a new effort to engage these adolescents and young adults, provide mentorship, and teach life and job skills. We will provide at-risk youth with an engaging alternative to life on the street, offering a creative, rather than destructive, outlet for their emotions. We will meet them where they are and empower them to take charge of their lives and change their trajectory.
Since 1993 Penn North has proven its ability to successfully engage the most vulnerable and challenging populations through our Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health programs, Community Resource Center and Kids Safe Zone. Now we are establishing Community Recovery and Empowerment through Art, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CREATE) to provide a supportive transitional space for adolescents and young adults. CREATE will act as a bridge between the Penn North Kids Safe Zone and adulthood.
CREATE will consist of a music studio, visual arts center, technology lab, urban farming program, entrepreneurship incubator and café. The music studio will engage the teens and young adults in a way they respect and understand. Professional musicians and hip-hop artists will teach adolescents and young adults the technical aspects of professionally recording and producing music. They will write and record their own songs that tell their story. CREATE will house a record label that produces, promotes and sells music with positive messages.
We will have a professional studio for videography, photography and graphic arts. The teens and young adults will learn skills related to the visual arts and create their own videos, photos and graphics. At the Kids Safe Zone we have found this creative process to be a powerful tool for the youth to feel empowered and to express their feelings in a positive, constructive way.
CREATE will house a technology lab that teaches computer programming and related technical skills. The adolescents and young adults will learn to develop apps that interest them, which can be marketed and sold. We will have an urban farming training program where they will learn how to grow, market and sell the produce. CREATE will be an incubator for the youth in the community to implement their entrepreneurial ideas and skills in meaningful and productive ways. The café will serve as a gathering and collaborative space and will house a store that sells the music, artwork and products created here.
We need to raise money to launch this critical endeavor. The initial funding is for space, equipment, studio construction and supplies. Our goal is for CREATE to become financially self-supporting through music studio services, visual arts services, and sales of merchandise and food. We have commitments from the key staff that will lead this endeavor and mentor and teach the youth. Now we need your help in making this important and innovative venture a reality. Every dollar that we receive will directly go towards CREATE and help change young lives.
To make a tax deductible contribution please:
Send a Check Payable to:
Re: Penn North CREATE
2410 Pennsylvania Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21217
Click on the link below to make a one-time or recurring donation online using PayPal's secure site:
Please see the In the News page for more information related to Penn North and the Kids Safe Zone, including stories related to:
For more information please email CREATE@Penn-North.org