BALTIMORE — A group of Baltimore kids with a local non-profit is leading a community effort to honor victims of gun violence by transforming a community garden in the Harlem Park neighborhood into a sanctuary for their grieving loved ones.
Let’s Thrive Baltimore and its program called Youth in Action recently received funding through Philanthropy Tank, which is a Florida based non-profit that expanded to Baltimore, to build what’s called a memory garden to help kids and adults cope with their loss and begin a process of healing.
“It’s a place for them to focus on their trauma to do meditation [and] to do yoga,” Lisa Molock said who is the founder of Let’s Thrive Baltimore. “We will do these activities here to help them recover.”
Many of the kids in Youth in Action have been impacted by gun violence themselves.
“We even have kids that loss both parents to gun violence right here in the community,” Molock said who has also loss family and friends to gun violence.
The group with the help of volunteers and city leaders that include Mayor Brandon Scott will begin renovating the space on Saturday.
It will also include steppingstones with personalized messages for family members to remember their loved ones.
Devin Jones, who is helping lead the project, was inspired to do the project because her dad was killed in 2016 when she was only six years old.
“When I heard that my dad died, it really hit hard for my whole family,” she said.
She said she wanted to be a part of this to help other kids like her cope with their loss. Jones said it will also give her comfort knowing her dad will have a steppingstone of his own.
“I think it’s really cool that my dad will be remembered by so many people,” she said.
For Molock, this is not only the start of healing this community, but the beginning of her mission to bring more memory garden to the city of Baltimore
“When you show the community that someone cares for the community, statistically, it’s shown it will reduce crime in that area,” Molock said. “We need Baltimore to heal. there is much violence going on in Baltimore city.”
The event starts at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday at 1420 W. Lafayette Avenue in Baltimore.
If you would like to help or be a part of the program, you can find more information here.