Druid Heights Back to School Block Party
Organized by: Charm City Initiative
EVENT DATE Aug 29, 2015
Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read about Charm City Initiative (CCI) and our efforts to work with the neighborhood Druid Heights in Central West Baltimore!
The Short Story
If you are outside of Baltimore, or new to the area, you are probably unfamiliar with this neighborhood at face value; however, Druid Heights is where Freddie Grey was assaulted and arrested. What you also might not know is that this neighborhood, and the community surrounding it, is filled with vibrantly painted houses, children playing, and neighbors that take the time to know one another. Unfortunately, these residents are also struggling with poverty, living in what is referred to as "a food desert," and are facing an increase in crime and unemployment. This strong, versatile, and talented community is experiencing these hardships with little to no resources to help themselves. With that in mind, CCI was founded to help create and empower change through hosting community events, mentorship programs, and facilitating discussion groups. Our first event is a Back to School Block Party!
The activities at the block party are going to focus on education, a self-care (taking care of one’s self mentally and physically) resource fair, and uniting a community. For each theme there will be a specific event, but collectively, all promote the importance of education, safety, and working together.
We need help funding the projects and activities we have planned for our block party, such as a 3-on-3 community basketball tournament, which will mix police, councilman, neighborhood youth, and residents of 21217 on different teams to play with and against each other. Other activities for the event include: a school supply drive, a resource fair with medical information, health screenings, after-school programs, massage therapists, food, live entertainment, a mural painting project, and so much more!
Who is CCI?
A group of Master's students from the psychology department at Loyola University Maryland and one of their professors came together after recognizing the need to respond to the emotional, mental, and physical distress and unrest marginalized communities face daily. Motivated by the events of the Baltimore Uprising, a student and professor met to debrief, which led to a class discussion. The outcome: the creation of Charm City Initiative (CCI). The topic of conversation that first meeting, and for many other meetings to follow, has been centered around our highest concerns: the Baltimore youth and providing outlets for them to feel acknowledged, supported, and heard. Collectively, CCI came up with quite a few long term and short term goals, all focused on encouraging unity, fostering empathetic environments, and promoting awareness. Our objective now is to achieve these goals and help create long-lasting, purposeful, and meaningful change both inside the classroom and outside in the community. More info on how/why we got started on our website: http://charmcityinitiative.weebly.com/about.html
Why do we need your help?
Druid Heights Community Block Party: CCI and Druid Heights Community Center (DHCC) are teaming together to throw a Back-to-School Block Party on August 29th, 2015 from 11 am – 4pm on Division and Roberts Street. The activities at the block party are going to focus on education, a self-care (taking care of one’s self mentally and physically) resource fair, and uniting a community. For each theme there will be a specific event, but collectively, all promote the importance of education, safety, and working together.
We need help funding the projects and activities we have planned for our block party, such as a 3-on-3 community basketball tournament, which will mix police, councilman, neighborhood youth, and residents of 21217 on different teams to play with and against each other. Other activities for the event include: a school supply drive, a resource fair with medical information, health screenings, after-school programs, massage therapists, food, live entertainment, a mural painting project, building a community garden, and so much more!
What We Need
Our block party will focus on three main components: education, self-care and community.
For education, we are planning a school supply drive, which will be a critical component of the event. Many, many students in the Druid Heights area need supplies for the Fall 2015 school year. For some students, this will be the first time they receive their own, new set of school supplies. If education is a path to a better future, then we felt it was our obligation to help make that path as smooth as possible.
For self-care, we plan to include a resource fair during the block party. This fair will introduce different community organizations focused on such things as health screening, voter registration, nutrition, as well as many others, all emphasizing the importance of taking care of oneself.
For community, we plan two events.
First, CCI and DHCC are working with local muralists to create a painting that combines the three themes—education, self-care and community—into one mural.
Second, we will have a CommUNITY Basketball Tournament. Twelve teams will face off in our 3-on-3 basketball tournament! The teams be composed of police officers, councilmen, parents, teachers and youth. Our goal is to provide an activity that removes barriers between community members and members of the police department.
While those three events are going to be the “main attractions,” of the CCI/DHCC Back to School Block Party, a block party would not be complete without food, DJs, open mic/poetry slams, steppers, marching bands, art projects, face painting, and a moon bounce, plus so much more! The residents of 21217 and their experiences deserve recognition and youth need to know that they are important and that their needs are being heard.
More information about the Back to School Block Party and our other projects visit: http://charmcityinitiative.weebly.com/projects.html
Visit our Google Doc, there you will find a list of materials/resources needed to make this event a success: http://goo.gl/forms/bsxMmLWvlC
Other Ways You Can Help
Unable to donate any dollars or materials we could use? That's okay! If you are in the Baltimore area and you are interested in what we are doing - you could join the team! We are a group of students, professors, parents, friends, community leaders, and neighbors, and we are more than happy to accept anyone who is willing to volunteer his or her time. As always, that is helpful and appreciated! Anyone and everyone, if you wouldn't mind sharing this page, the flyer, or our website - it would be greatly appreciated. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler from T.V. show Parks and Recreation) says, "Nothing is achieved alone." We need your help, so we can help. Your contributions and support benefits two groups of people - Charm City Initiative with their block party as well as those who attend the event and have an opportunity to gather resources, collect school supplies, celebrate a bright future, and welcome a new school year!