A Needed Component Of A Child’s Life In Baltimore City
by Brenda Wade, Baltimore City School Clinical Social Worker and Acts4Youth Board Member
Growing up on a farm in southern Maryland, I appreciated the serenity of birds chirping in the morning and the stillness of the night. My parents sent me to St. Mary’s Catholic school to receive my academic and spiritual education. It was at St. Mary’s that I learned, as a child, the importance of establishing and maintaining a relationship with God. I learned that prayer is what would sustain me throughout the unpredictable road of life. Nothing has proven truer. When I was confronted with negative peer pressure in high school, it was prayer and my belief in the Holy Spirit that led me to make better choices for myself. When it was time to select one college from a host of options, prayer led me to the choice appropriate for me. When I have been faced with several difficult adult challenges, personal and professional, prayer created endurance.
Acts4Youth aspires to foster personal, social, and spiritual growth by providing mentoring services to at-risk youth in Baltimore City. Many youth in Baltimore, like youth in other urban communities, seek guidance in navigating their world, seek an understanding of life choices, and seek a foundation from which to draw upon during times of uncertainty and hardship. Acts4Youth provides two key components to youth development: an understanding of the importance of relationships with caring adults and the importance of a relationship with God.
Acts4Youth meets the youth where they are physically, mentally, and spiritually, focusing on character, emotional maturity, life and social skills, and faith. The trained mentors establish relationships with the youth and their families in their communities, thus creating a safe space for relationship building. Mentors provide youth with opportunities for improvement in areas of self-esteem, positive decision-making, conflict resolution, and time management.
Baltimore City needs Acts4Youth. As a social worker with experience working with Baltimore City youth, I have witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by youth in the city that reside in poverty, live in single-parent homes, and endure the trauma of ongoing losses. Many of these youth attend schools that are ill equipped to address the family and community challenges that affect their growth and development. Acts4Youth provides these youth with hope for a better future, opportunity to experience positive adults and activities, and a spiritual foundation to change the direction of their lives and strive to achieve success.