Learning, enrichment, and community support. Those are some of the pillars of the St. Francis Neighborhood Center’s Power Project, which provides high-caliber after-school programming for young people in the Reservoir Hill and Penn North neighborhoods. With support from the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund (BCYF), St. Francis was able to more than double the reach of Power Project and serve 75 young people this past year.
Young people get a snack, homework help, academic instruction, cultural activities, clubs and dinner. The BYCF grant also supported an internship program for high school students. And staff at the center connect with parents and the young people’s teachers – to better serve the young people. “We couldn’t have done it without the Youth Fund. It helped us hire high-quality staff,” says Executive Director Christi Green.
St. Francis shares BCYF’s commitment to letting the community drive programming and to giving young people a true role in shaping its work.
“The kids have a voice in shaping the program. That’s why we have such a high attendance rate,” says Green. “Everything we do has to be community-driven; that’s just who we are.”
With the pandemic shutting down face-to-face after-school programming, St. Francis has been working harder and more creatively than ever. The center raised money and forged partnerships to get computers and internet access for all of the children it serves, and the staff provides a virtual after-school program, much-needed support for Baltimore kids in a time of crisis.
“We’re so happy we can stay connected with the kids and families,” Green says.