Kids need safe summer haven

Date: June 27, 2016

On the first official day of summer June 21, more than 40 volunteers from UPS, Target, Under Armour, Johns Hopkins and more braved the heat and joined United Way of Central Maryland’s Day of Action to paint interior rooms in Bolton Hill’s Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School Recreation Center. United Way’s Women United leaders also created a new library nook. The Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School Rec Center is in desperate need of repairs, serving children and residents from neighborhoods affected by last year’s unrest. It’s an integral neighborhood safe haven for adults to apply for jobs, seniors to keep cool during the hot weather and kids to play in without fear.

Kids like Deondre, a 12-year-old student at nearby Samuel Coleridge Taylor Elementary. A friend of United Way, Deondre served as a student ambassador during United Way’s Dr. Seuss Day this past March, leading reading volunteers to their classrooms and making sure everyone had what they needed. Despite his challenging home situation, he was a good kid with a great future. Unfortunately, while out in his neighborhood this past Saturday evening, Deondre was killed. Another heartbreaking moment that serves as a tough reminder of the value and importance of Rec Centers – safe places for the community.

With several area schools closed this summer for renovations, local children who usually attend summer programs have nowhere to go. No safe place to play. Plus, without this Rec Center, there is no location within walking distance where these children, who qualify for free lunches, can get summer meals – which might be their only meal of the day. No child in central Maryland should be hungry. And all children deserve a safe place to play and a chance at a better life.

This Rec Center needs to open to provide refuge to local children this summer and all year long. Thanks to United Way’s volunteers and supporters, progress was made. However, there is still much more work to be done, including planting a garden, painting the gym and raising funding to operate the center. No one can create change alone. But together, we can change the odds for families and communities in need.

To get involved and support area children, visit www.uwcm.org/ontrack to keep young students on track. For more information about volunteering with United Way, visit: www.uwcm.org/volunteer.

United Way of Central Maryland joined forces with Depend®, which provided support for the project, to promote healthy, active and independent living throughout an individual’s life, with a focus on volunteering.

See WMAR’s coverage of the event here.

Check out photos from the event on FaceBook.

Register now and invite a friend, neighbor or coworker to join you.

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For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, Maryland.

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