Youth mentoring program connects local elementary students to neighborhood mentor

Mark Parker, pastor of Breath of God Church on Clinton Street, has been running an afterschool program connecting neighborhood kids to neighborhood volunteers. This year, he has changed the time to make it possible for more people to volunteer in this effort to strengthen our community.

The Youth Mentoring Program works with neighborhood kids in the key upper-elementary (3rd-5th grades) time range. The goal is to strengthen them in their health, social skills and academic achievement so that they are as prepared as possible for success during the difficult middle school years. This is a great time to offer extra help and intervention with children, as academic and behavioral problems that young people bring with them into middle school tend only to get worse.

The goal is to have enough volunteers to work one-on-one with these kids, so every kid gets the attention they need, and more so. Every kid gets a mentor to help them with their work, to hold them to account and to learn from about goals and life.

The group meets from 5pm to 6:40pm on Mondays while school is in session. We spend that time on 1) physical activity; 2) healthy snack; 3) math & reading. If you can’t get back from work and over to the church until 5:15pm or so, that could still work, because the group will be up in the gym playing a game of some kind.

Tiana and Sarah, both 10 years old and 5th grade students at Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School # 215, have participated in past years. They cite hanging out with friends and the want to do something afterschool as reasons they joined the program. Both say their favorite part of the program is “talking to the grownups. Grownups are interesting.” When asked about their future goals, Tiana says her “goals are to drive and to become President of the United States and to open an animal adoption center.” Sarah hopes to “become a cosmetologist and to make a company to tell young girls about what they can do with their lives and other girl things.”

New murals brighten East Avenue!

Thanks to a project headed by East Sector Vice President Dave Leibensperger and Leanna Wetmore of Banner Neighborhoods, two colorful new murals were commissioned and painted this fall in Patterson Park. Neighborhood residents participated in the design and selection of plants to be featured in the mural, along with Baltimore artists Stab and Michael Owen of the Baltimore Love Project.

In November, the first mural was painted on the south side of a few industrial storage units on the south side of Esther Place, at the intersection with the 100 block of N. East Avenue. The mural depicts several native plants and flowers, which will be part of a garden planted near the mural in 2013.

The second mural is on the north side of the storage units on Fayette Street where it meets N. East Avenue. It depicts several sea creatures, including a blue crab and sea otters. The total cost of these very large murals was over $7,000, funded through grants by Healthy Neighborhoods, Banner Neighborhoods and resident contributions. Both murals have really beautified the area—you should come take a look!

2013 PPNA Officer Elections – January 14th

PPNA will hold its annual election of officers at our monthly meeting on January 14th at 7 pm at St. Elizabeth’s Church.

Nominations are open for the following positions:

  • President
  • VP West: Represents area west of Linwood Ave, between Baltimore & Fayette
  • VP East: Represents area on east of Linwood Ave, between Baltimore & Fayette
  • VP South: Represents area south of Baltimore St.
  • VP North: Represents area north of Fayette St.
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

All board members attend monthly community and board meetings and have a vote in which projects with organization will work on each year. The President leads community and board meetings, interfaces with City liaisons. VPs run a sector cleanup, interfaces with sector residents. The secretary takes notes at the meetings and runs the email announcements and calendar. The Treasurer keeps a ledger for the collected dues and grants of the organization.

If you are interested in running for any of these offices, or know someone who is, please send your nominations to by Friday, January 11th. If you are nominating someone else, please provide the contact information for the nominee.

To run for office, or to vote in this election, you must be current on your 2013 PPNA dues, have been a paid member in 2012 and attended at least two events in 2012.