BALTIMORE COUNTY — This year's "Built Upon a Dream" special airs Thursday night on WMAR.
All summer, some of our area’s best architects, contractors and dozens of volunteers have been at the Board of Child Care” in Baltimore County, making major improvements at that facility, which helps hundreds of children who are going through tough situations.
Now, we're hearing from a young man who says the Board of Child Care has had a huge impact on his life.
His name is Lamont, and he has an easy smile. But it wasn’t always that way. Lamont is 20 years old, and he’s spent the past four years at the Board of Child Care.
“The staff taught me to be vigilant and be respectful of all people,” Lamont said.
And so he is, aided by the organization’s educational, residential treatment, and recreational programs.
“Some of the life skills I have learned are, being able to talk to staff, use my coping skills, and basically go off ground and talk to other people,” he said.
The campus of the Board of Child Care houses an organization that's been helping children for more than a century. One of the ways they help, is by giving young people responsibility in a controlled environment.
“My first job on campus was at the cafeteria,” Lamont said. “I was cleaning.”
Now – WMAR’s Built Upon a Dream project is sprucing up that dining hall, along with the gym on the campus, and a common "canteen" area used by the kids there for down-time.
“I feel that future residents will be able to enjoy themselves,” Lamont said.
It’s a project aimed at making a tough job a little easier.
“Our job is to help them heal and recover from their traumatic experiences and help them move along their pathway back home as quickly and as thoughtfully as possible,” said L A Spagnola, the president and CEO of the Board of Child Care.
The organization has learned that regardless of what’s happened to a child, they can get better.
“They don’t get better on their own, they get better through relationships,” Spagnola said. “And they get better through caring adults who work hard to help them have an opportunity to develop new coping skills and that helps them navigate bad things that have happened to them.”
Lamont is almost ready to leave the Board of Child Care. He already has a job, working at the Y in Parkville.
“It gives me a lot of joy and pride for myself and others that I help,” he said. “Having a job is very important to me because I can take what I learned from BCC and apply it to the workforce.”
Eventually Lamont plans to try to reunite more of his family. He has some family members in Phoenix, Arizona so he's hoping to head that way.
The new improvements at the Board of Child Care will be dedicated in a ceremony on Tuesday of next week, and then our special on the project will air Thursday night, August 29th at 7:30 p.m. on WMAR.