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Promise Heights
University of Maryland School of Social Work
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Baltimore, MD 21201

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News

UMB spotlights our Early Childhood event and Parent University Graduates

Jennifer Hasselbusch

Parents Shine at Graduation Party, an article written by University of Maryland Baltimore Media Specalist Mary T. Phelan, showcases the celebration of our most recent Parent University graduates and programs on April 25, 2017.  Included are quotes from current and past graduates who completed the program about what the Parent U program means to them and their families.  We are honored to help these parents and children on their journey and know that this is not the end.  Click here to learn more about the Parent University programs.

Promise Heights Early Childhood Celebration 4.25.17

Jennifer Hasselbusch

This morning we celebrated some very important milestones for our early childhood programs. Today we celebrated the 8th graduating class of Parent University I, marking the 150th family to complete the program. In addition, we celebrated the work of B'more for Healthy Babies Upton/Druid Heights, especially hitting 3 years with 0 infant deaths in our community, and the Judith P. Hoyer Centers. This celebration included current graduate's families, past Parent University graduates, and program supporters. During the festivities, we were honored with a spoken word performance "Learn to Love,"  written and performed by David Native Son Ross.

 

Learn to Love:

 I never seen a man

love a woman the way my father loves my mother

I wanna learn to love like that.

 

He swept a single mom and her two babies

off the ground out of the shadows of hopelessness

and as a little boy, all I could think was:

“God, his arms are strong.”

He struggled, but he made it known

that his commitment was life long

‘cause little boys need that from their dads

 

I’m glad he understood that

it ain’t easy to get a young boy that ain’t yours

to love you back

but he stayed right there

and never relapsed and man, I wanna thank you for that

I wanna learn how to love like:

 

How I never seen a woman

love her pumpkins for what they are

no spun gold, she embraced her straw and loved it

‘cause it’s worth more to her than glass slippers

and a horse-drawn carriage

her fairytale came true with a broke down

four door Ford automatic

baby it ain’t much I can afford but trust me

there’s gold in our marriage

I wanna learn to love like that

 

when she was in school—he held us down

when he was down—she held him up in high esteem

might not meet society’s standards but

he is her king

and still, his queen

keeping food and cash in the castle

“baby, I got you until we get back on our feet

no naggin’, no hassle, ‘cause together

we’re gonna fight this battle”

I wanna learn to love that

 

No, never did she ever

have a bunch of chickens

clucking in her front yard

all in her business

squawking about what men is and what men ain’t

she kept it quaint

this is the real deal for real

no pretty picture here I’m trying to paint

believe me, it ain’t

‘cause life ain’t perfect

we’ve seen some hard times

and those hard times hurt

but we weathered ‘emtogether

when there was no food in the fridge

yeah, there were nights they went hungry

but they fed their kids

who were just happy to live

unknowing, unbeknownst

unpaid bills, rent due, and lights off

still in that house, love poured every ounce

I wanna learn to love like that

to love without regret

without holding back

to love, regardless

despite the setback

hey, do you wanna know what love is?

Don’t watch reality tv

read reality weaved in the brilliant fabric

of this couple’s life work

worn, double-stitched with

twenty years worth of patchwork

and they’re still sewing

still going

still growing together, I tell ya

I wanna learn to love like that

 

Never have I seen a couple love like this

so strong for so long

I’m a lucky one

a real life Cosby kid

my own Cliff and Claire right there everyday

supporting and pushing me all the way

I tell ya, what I say is true

twenty years and never seen them argue

all they do is play

psych—I’m lying

they get into it every now and then but hey

they still kiss at the end of the day,

at night

my sister and I knew everything was alright

I wanna learn to love like

 

The only hand I ever seen him lay to her

was when he washed her back

rubbed her feet

helped her aching body get into the passenger seat

and the only put down she ever laid on him

was a lay-away receipt

I tell ya, I wanna learn mom

I wanna learn dad

I wanna learn how to love

like that. 

 

by David Ross ©2007

 

You can find more of his work at www.anartkeymusic.com.

 

Shasha S. Satchell Earns Certification

Jennifer Hasselbusch

Shasha S. Satchell CLC, one of our Resource Moms for B'more for Healthy Babies is passionate about breastfeeding.  As a certified lactation consultant, she facilitates a monthly community-based breastfeeding support group in the Pedestal Gardens housing complex in West Baltimore. Recently she completed the initial training as a Doula with the Centro Ashe Herbal Center in Costa Rica under the guidance of Nilajah Brown of the Birth Well. This additional certification will allow her to continue to provide a nurturing environment for expecting women to give birth to healthy babies in Upton/Druid Heights and continue the important work of BHB.

'Santelises must save Renaissance Academy' an op-ed by Councilman Eric Costello and Promise Heights ED Bronwyn Mayden

Jennifer Hasselbusch

Councilman Costello and PH's own Bronwyn Mayden make the case to keep Renaissance Academy open in The Baltimore Sun.  This follows the recommendation put forth by City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises to close Renaissance Academy after the current school year ends. 

"City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises and the Baltimore City School Board should join the long list of partners who are working to support students in one of the neediest neighborhoods in our city. These students carry the burden of our city's weaknesses: trauma from community violence, poverty, mental and behavioral health issues, and a failing education system."

To read the full article, click here.  Baltimore City Schools will vote on the closing of RA as well as three other city schools at their December 13th Board meeting. 

'West Baltimore's Renaisance Academy once again facing closure'

Jennifer Hasselbusch

Baltimore Sun reporter Erica L. Greene reports that new Baltimore City Schools CEO, Sonja Santelises, is recommending that Renaissance Academy be included as one of four schools to be closed at the end of this school year.  The previous recommendation for closure after SY14-15 was successfully overturned under then CEO Gregory Thornton.  Beyond reasons sited at the time of the original recommendation, Satelises states that the school is, "...a physical remind of a tragedy,"  and that attempts to find an alternative space for the school have fallen through.  Read the full article here for more detail.

Several meetings regarding this and other recommended closings have been announced by the school board:

  • Wednesday, November 16th - a meeting for students and parents to get information and give feedback to school officials regarding the potential closure.
  • Tuesday, November 22nd at 6 pm - a special session for the public regarding all recommended closures at BCPS Headquarters. 
  • Tuesday, November 29th at 6 pm - the public hearing regarding the closures at BCPS Headquarters.

Listening to the Voices of Young People by Martin J. Blank

Jennifer Hasselbusch

Martin Blank, President of the Institute for Educational Leadership, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post's blog about the importance of educators and community partners in schools.  Beginning with a quote from Khalil Bridges, he spotlights the work done by Renaissance Academy Principal Nikkia Rowe and Community School Coordinator Hallie Atwater to support high school students through the Seeds of Promise: Transforming Black Boys into Men program.  "As we continue our work, partners in the Coalition for Community Schools will not forget Khalil Bridges admonition to not overlook everyone else. It’s a matter of equity."

Click here to read the full article.

UPDATE on Khalil Bridges' GoFundMe

Jennifer Hasselbusch

Since Washington Post journalist Theresa Vargas first covered Khalil's journey on June 13th, over 411 people from all over have donated to the GoFundMe set up by Hallie Atwater, Renaissance Academy's Community School Coordinator, to exceed the initial goal by almost $10,000 and still going!  We could not be more proud of Kahlil for all that he has achieved and are confident that he will be able to achieve his dreams.

On June 23rd The Washington Post wrote a follow up article, "'Soar Khalil soar!' Nearly 250 strangers give a Baltimore teenager $30,000," about the widespread support that Khalil has received and his plans for the future which include attending a 4 year institution and becoming an athletic trainer of physical therapist.  You can read that full article here.

In a letter to editor published by The Washington Post on June 22nd in response to the June 19th article "Coming of age in a city coming apartment," Richard P. Barth, Dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, spoke regarding community schools and how they support schools in a holistic way to provide for students, families, and staff. 

If you would like to contribute to Khalil's future his GoFundMe page is still active.  In Khalil's own words, "I would like to say thank you for all the hope and support and motivation you’ve been giving me.  I love y’all for believing in me.” 

 

photo credit: Jahi Chikwendiu, The Washington Post

 

 

"I don't know if people understand what is happening in Baltimore"

Jennifer Hasselbusch

The Upton/Druid Heights neighborhood is spotlighted by Theresa Vargas, journalist for The Washington Post, in her article "I don't know if people understand what is happening in Baltimore."  In it she interviews Rachel Donegan, Assistant Director of Promise Heights, and Nikkia Rowe, Principal of Renaissance Academy, about the community and how it affects those who live there.  Read the full article here.

photo credit: Jahi Chikwendiu, Washington Post

Renaissance Academy student Kahlil Bridges spotlighted by The Washington Post

Jennifer Hasselbusch

The Washington Post featured RAHS senior Kahlil Bridges in their article, "Coming of age in a city coming apart."  Written by Theresa Vargas, the article showcases Kahlil's journey so far and the many odds he has overcome to graduate from RAH on June 3rd.  Click here to read the full article.

What is also made painfully clear in this article is how uncertain his future remains.  A GoFundMe has been started to help make his dreams a reality.  If you would like to contribute, please visit his page.