BALTIMORE — Many communities in West Baltimore are considered deserts for opportunity. Young people have nowhere to go so they turn to the streets.
“My name is Rev. Willie Ray better known as John the Baptist in the hood amen.”
Rev. Ray has been tirelessly working to change that for over 40 years.
Now his vision has a place to call home on Edmondson Ave.
“I been doing this for 50 years on every corner. This corner as brother Leslie Howard said we’ve been building this one faith one church one corner citywide,” Rev. Ray said. “We going to let everybody know that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
He walked me through the massive space in the Rosemont community that will be the Save Another Youth, Inc and Stop the Violence Coalition new headquarters and youth community resource development center.
Inside young people will have access to S.T.E.M programs, mental health counseling, sports activities and other programs to get them on the right path.
“We have all these vacant houses in this neighborhood,” said Leslie Howard with the Rosemont Community Interfaith Coalition. “Imagine if we had carpenters, electricians and plumbers. Apprenticeship programs that would train these young people in the skills that are needed to rehabilitate these houses.”
Elder Green is the project manager and he is already using this space in the basement to teach young people trades and get them employed.
“This is a desert where there hasn’t been anything going on for years,” Green said. “I been in this building for 14 years rehabbing this building.”
They have submitted a proposal for renovation and he says they are working with the Governor and the Mayors office.
“I’m looking at this location and other locations in the community to be able to provide those opportunities for young people,” said Councilman John Bullock.
There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done and they are asking for financial support through their GoFundMe to get the building up and running.
“I want to thank the politicians that are out here but $680 million came to this city,” said Bill Gooden. “The CARE relief package, right? These organizations and people who got visions and are really doing things some of that money really need to go to organizations that really trying to do something.”
A legend of change with a new space and a vision to guide our young people.