BALTIMORE (November 27, 2017) – The Ben Franklin Center for Community Schools, located at Benjamin Franklin High School (BFHS) at Masonville Cove, is now officially The United Way Ben Franklin Center at Brooklyn/Curtis Bay — and wholly operated by United Way of Central Maryland. The award-winning Ben Franklin Center uses the community school strategy of listening to the community and responding with wraparound programs provided by a network of partners. These include an early childhood development program for BFHS teen parents and their infants and toddlers. In addition to United Way programs and resources to help families become more stable and self-sufficient, the Ben Franklin Center has also implemented United Way’s On Track 4 Success program, which launched in the school’s 9th-grade classes this year and identifies and helps students stay on track to obtain their high school diplomas.
“We had previously partnered with the Ben Franklin Center for Community Schools for three years,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “This is a natural evolution for us—to bring The Ben Franklin Center under the United Way umbrella and offer the additional services we are able to provide, like housing assistance, workforce development, On Track 4 Success, and more to the students and families we serve as well as other community residents. By joining forces, we can offer more resources to improve more lives and to help lift up the community.”
Establishing The United Way Ben Franklin Center at Brooklyn/Curtis Bay is one example of United Way’s role as a convener and collaborator in the communities it serves. The Center will become “proof of concept” for United Way of Central Maryland as it plans to open future centers and collaborations of this kind throughout the region.
“Our vision is that each community center will look a little different to accommodate the specific needs of the community, whether that be family support like at The United Way Ben Franklin Center at Brooklyn/Curtis Bay, or financial coaching and job placement,” Baker added. “Our ultimate goal is to fight for the families and individuals living in communities until that fight becomes a win.”
The United Way Ben Franklin Center at Brooklyn/Curtis Bay will continue to be run by Dante de Tablan, as vice president and Heather Chapman as associate vice president. All employees have been retained and are now United Way of Central Maryland employees.
“This collaboration allows us to not only continue our mission of community building here in Baltimore City but to capitalize on United Way’s existing role in communities across the region,” said de Tablan. “The Center, for which I have served as executive director for three years, is a model of success. Twenty-one of 23 teen parents enrolled completed their high school education. That represents a graduation rate of 91 perrcent, compared with a nationwide rate of 40 percent for teen parents. Through this integration, not only can we continue to offer our services to our students; we can also expand our services to their families, and others in the community, who need help getting and staying on a path to self-sufficiency.”
Since its opening in June 2014, the United Way Ben Franklin Center has served 58 students and 44 infants and toddlers.
“We have seen the enormous and positive effect of the Center here at Benjamin Franklin High School over the last three years,” said Chris Battaglia, principal at Benjamin Franklin High School. “It has had a huge impact on the success of our students, and the expansion of the services now provided by the United Way Ben Franklin Center, including On Track 4 Success for our 9th graders, is something we are all excited to see evolve. Helping our students acheive is the first step in helping our families, and ultimately, our communities, succeed.”
To learn more about the United Way Ben Franklin Center at Brooklyn/Curtis Bay, please visit www.uwcm.org.
About United Way of Central Maryland
United Way of Central Maryland fights for the education, employment, housing and health of every person in every community. For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves – Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties, and Baltimore City – through programs like its 15 Family Stability sites that prevent homelessness and help families achieve self-sufficiency, and On Track 4 Success, a program in select schools throughout the region that identifies and helps young students stay on track to graduate high school
In January 2017, United Ways in Maryland released the ALICE® Report, revealing that more than a third of Maryland households – nearly 750,000 – either live in poverty, or qualify at or below the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) threshold. United Way of Central Maryland fights to stabilize these ALICE residents and those that fall below the Federal Poverty Level.
In addition to the ALICE Report, United Way’s work is supported by the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline, a 24-hour, 7-day a week service that has provided information and referrals on health and human service needs for more than 10 years. To learn more about the United Way of Central Maryland, visit www.uwcm.org.