Yes there is good news coming from Cherry Hill!Baltimore, MD - December 16, 2006 -- A group of concerned residents, citizens, business owners and community leaders have formed the Cherry Hill Youth Development Committee. This collection of caring individuals held their first meeting in November and they have not looked back since. The mission of the Cherry Hill Youth Development Committee is to develop or bring in resources and partners to create comprehensive, healthy, wholesome, and enriching child and youth development programs, activities and services within the Cherry Hill community so that youth and families have the capabilities, resources and skills to succeed.
On this past Saturday the Committee hosted a Cherry Hill community-wide youth meeting to hear directly from the community youth what they were most concerned about and to learn what types of programs and activities the youth were interested in having within their community. The meeting was a success! The committee members were initially skeptical about the turn-out, and while the attendance was not in great numbers, it was impressive due to the quality of input received from the youth, the majority of which were young men.
Foremost in the input provided by the Cherry Hill youth was their observation of a lack of activity leaders to supervise youth programs and activities in the community. They consistently offered that more youth would come off the streets if structure activities and programs with good leaders and coordinators were in place. Additionally, they offered that while recreational and sports programs exist, they have other interests that have basically been ignored. Advanced computer technology training, dance classes, and other skills and hobby development workshops were high on their list of desired activities.
Two very impressive young men must be highlighted from this meeting by name. Angelo Dangerfield (an aspiring college bound sound engineer) and Marquis Gasque (an aspiring published musician) were extremely vocal and articulate in presenting their honest views for consideration by the Committee. Most note worthy about each of these young Cherry Hill residents is that while pursuing their individual dreams and goals they personify Baltimore’s Best in giving back to their community by volunteering their free time to mentor younger members of the community as participants in the Future Leaders In Training (FLIT) program. FLIT is an initiative of Ms. Shirley Foulks a long time resident of the Cherry Hill Homes and President of the Cherry Hill Homes Tenant Council. Ms. Foulks has managed to keep the FLIT program going for three years without any substantial funding, basically using her own meager resources and donations from friends and neighbors. The leadership skills exhibited by her protégées, Angelo and Marquis, during the youth meeting are evidence enough of the success of Ms. Foulks’ deficiently funded FLIT program.
Not to omit the contributions from the young ladies in attendance, Ms. Ciara Green (a student and soon to be 13 year old) was equally impressive and provided a wealth of constructive and useful ideas for consideration by the Committee members that included her desire for dance related programs and activities.
Also in attendance at the 1st Cherry Hill community-wide Youth Meeting were Samuel Burris, (10th District Baltimore Youth Commissioner), Ms. Sabrina Sutton (Director, Youth and Education Baltimore City Council President’s Office) and Ms. Camille E. Burke (Senior Contracts Coordinator/Supervisor, The Family League of Baltimore City, Inc.).
The Cherry Hill Youth Development Committee has a monumental task ahead for its members, but it appears that they have a great start on their path to fulfilling their mission in support of the Cherry Hill Youth.