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Loyola partnership empowers Baltimore City youth

Students involved in Youthworks painting murals in Baltimore

Loyola University Maryland partnered with the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, York Road Partnership, YouthWorks, and the Baltimore City Planning Department to hire 20 teens and young adults who are residents of Baltimore City, and primarily the Govans neighborhood, to be summer employees.  This partnership is part of the larger 21st Century Schools reconstruction process which will bring $50 million of investment to two local schools in Govans.

The students were enrolled in the YouthWorks program, through the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. Today, Govans has two new murals in the neighborhood thanks to the Art @ Work program, a five-week program through the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts where youth learn the skills of community design and public art.

Erin O'Keefe, ’03, director of Loyola Center for Community Service and Justice (CCSJ) and York Road Initiative, helped identify the need for a partnership to support Baltimore City youth.

“Over the past two years, Loyola has listened to residents’ desires for more opportunities for young adults in Govans,” said O’Keefe. “Census data also indicates a high number of ‘opportunity youth’ in our neighborhood, meaning 16- to 24-year-olds who are unemployed or not in school. This partnership is the perfect marriage of employing and empowering local youth, utilizing Loyola’s faculty resources for professional development, and strengthening our community through public art.”

In addition, the Loyola Clinical Centers (LCC) served as a meeting place for the students for the five-week program. During their time at the LCC, students participated in professional development workshops. J.P. Krahel, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting, offered sessions in financial literacy, Karsonya "Kaye" Whitehead, Ph.D., professor of communication, led sessions in communications, and Marie McSweeney Anderson, ’11, assistant director of the York Road Initiative, led sessions on community leadership with guests such as  Councilman Bill Henry, MBA '06, and local community leaders like Donna Blackwell, York Road Partnership President.

"We are an anchor university in Baltimore City, and we take great pride knowing that the LCC can support local youth through programs like YouthWorks,” said Kara Vincent, ’91, M.S., ’93, executive director of the Loyola Clinical Centers. “The location of the LCC along York Road offers us yet another way to welcome our Baltimore community with open arms.”

The culmination of the Art @ Work program occurred at an event on Friday, Aug. 2, at the Dewees Recreation Center (5501 Ivanhoe Ave.), the location of one of the murals entitled “Joy, Happiness, and Fun.”  The second mural, “#OneBaltimore Many Shades,” is located at 5313 York Road and Woodbourne Avenue.