In the midst of four West Baltimore City recreation centers set to close this summer, local organizations scramble to address the need for city youths to have safe out-of-school summer activities. With a $15,000 grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, local non-profit Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation (RBCF) decided to step outside its normal mission of providing haircuts for the homeless to become the fiscal sponsor of an unincorporated program ran by a West Baltimore City School teacher, Natasha Thurmon.
With the assistance of RBCF, other teachers, and mentors, middle school teacher Natasha Thurmon decided to use her skills as an educator/coach to ensure that city youth have safe out-of-school summer activities to engage in. Located at Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School in Southwest Baltimore; Mindful Mentors Planting Seeds is a summer youth program that will assist thirty student-athletes ages eleven to thirteen in maintaining their grade point averages over their summer vacation. The program will allow a daily mix of athletics, math, language arts, nutritious meals, and training in study-skills for student-athletes. RBCF Managing Director, Robert W. Cradle explained, “Being an intermediary for a project that will keep city youth safe, educated and exercising during their summer vacation is something that we had to make room for. I am happy see that three separate entities could come together using our respective strengths, skills, and resources to solve such a dire community problem.” The Annie E. Casey Baltimore Direct Services Grant was designed to support summer youth programs that reach out to particularly vulnerable children with strategies that promote attendance and reading success.
For more information, please contact:
- Rob Cradle, Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation at RCR365@aol.com or (410) 245-8875
- Jacqueline Caldwell, Anne E. Casey Foundation at JCaldwell@aecf.org or (410) 223-2995
- Natasha Thurmon, Mindful Mentors Planting Seeds at firstname.lastname@example.org or (443) 852-5343