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Creating Life-Changing Impact in South Baltimore

Meet Paul and Carmella at United Way's Neighborhood Zone in Brooklyn
March 3, 2021

The United Way Neighborhood Zone in Brooklyn is a prime example of how a united front can transform a community. Based in South Baltimore’s Benjamin Franklin High School, the Neighborhood Zone emerged from listening to what community members wanted and needed.

Focused on multi-generational support, the Neighborhood Zone supports social, economic, and educational advancement. Offerings include an on-site Family Center with childcare for student parents so they can stay in school and graduate; housing and employment assistance; a dropout prevention program; mental health services; access to fresh and healthy food; and more.

Since its inception, the Neighborhood Zone in Brooklyn has seen nationally recognized success: 70% of student parents have graduated high school (compared to 40% nationally), 172 children have received high-quality, early childhood education, and 96% of children avoided a disruptive school transfer when their families were forced to move.

The Neighborhood Zone in Brooklyn has also impacted the lives of the team that supports it, including Paul, who drives student parents to and from school.

“I wasn’t working a regular job, I was about to lose my house, the utilities were turned off. United Way, they had all these programs—health, nutrition, monetary things, a lady to help you with your resume, to get a job, help you get your credit right … they had like 10 or 12 programs I participated in," Paul said. "Up at Ben Franklin High School, they were starting the Family Center, and I said, ‘I’ll be your janitor, I’ll do whatever you need me to do.’ They needed a bus driver to bring the students and their kids to school. Turned out to be a great job.”

Help us help more people who want—and deserve—to live their best life by contributing to the United Way Neighborhood Zone in Brooklyn and its expansion to other neighborhoods.

Read more about this Neighborhood Zone here.

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