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Renovating a beacon of hope in West Baltimore

Posted at 11:18 PM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2019-01-04 15:37:43-05

Reservoir Hill has been at the center of some of the worst stories about Baltimore, but there's much more to it than just the shooting headlines.

The Saint Francis Neighborhood Center has been a beacon of hope for the people that love and live in West Baltimore for over 50 years.

Christi Green, the Executive Director of the center said the goal of the center is to end generational poverty.

“We’ve made a difference on that corner,” Green said. “We’re on the corner of Linden and Whitelock. Whitelock was infamous for being the worst street in the neighborhood and the city for years.”


Through all of the violence and pain the city has seen the center has provided hope for neighborhood kid turned St. Francis Center Student Intern Maesya Parker.

“It not only gave me a really good structure it made me a good success story,” Parker said. “I didn’t know how to build a resume, I didn’t know how to talk in front of people- I was scared to do this a year ago. It was more of like challenging me to step out of my comfort zone every single day.”

Over time the building has started to fall apart, but the spirit to give back to the children and less well off of West Baltimore has never been stronger.

On Tuesday night at Second Chances at an event called “Historic Night of Chances” put on by the Baltimore Renaissance a celebration of a new chapter in the St. Francis story.

People who helped to donate the $3.4 million to renovate and expand the building were recognized for giving back to the city.

That money will go towards new specialized rooms for children, offices, meeting rooms, a courtyard.
All things that will help the center double the number of children they reach every day so they can help up to 200 people at once.

Children like 10-year-old Zayon Hill who wants to be a rapper and a football player when he grows up.

“I wanna be able to have a lot of money to feed my family and help pay bills,” said Hill.

Makayh Hill is a 12-year-old on a mission to help the elderly and become a chef someday.

“It helps me learn how to cooperate with people and speak to people and figure out what’s wrong and stuff,” Makayh said. “The chef part, the cooking club just teach me how to cook better.”

The center lets teens get a head start on a career through their student intern program.


Parker said she’s seen the need for more giving hearts and St. Francis is teaching her how to make a difference.

“Ever since I was little I always wanted to help people,” said Parker.  “I wanted to get into mental health, so I was wanted to be a social worker. Especially coming from Baltimore City.”

Green said they’ve already started repairing parts of the center and hope to break ground on the expansion December 1.

They still need around $700,000 to reach their goal, so if you’d like to help click here.