Press and Media

Our Youth Made Impressive Academic Gains This School Year!

Orientation on the first day of the Summer of Service program.(July 2014)  The St. Francis Neighborhood Center, a community-based nonprofit operating in Reservoir Hill for the past 51 years, has recently released key statistics on the success of their free after school enrichment and academic program, the Power Project, for the 2013-2014 school year.

The Power Project, the center’s premier youth program, offers a free educational after school and summer program for children living in the high needs community of Reservoir Hill. At present, the Power Project serves over 30 children and offers tutoring, mentoring, homework help, arts and crafts, physical fitness, and meals and snacks.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, 88% of students enrolled in the Power Project passed their reading class, and 32% improved their reading grade from first quarter to fourth quarter. 53% of youth enrolled improved more than 10% on their in-house reading assessment score. 92% of Power Project youth passed their math class, and 60% improved their math grade from first quarter to fourth quarter. 46% of youth enrolled improved more than 10% on their in-house math assessment score. Youth received 98 hours of 1:1 mentoring and over 60 hours of 1:1 tutoring.  Read the complete press release here.



Bike Party Finish Line Festival Comes to Mount Royal

(April 2014) On Friday, April 25, 2014 the St. Francis Neighborhood Center, Whitelock Community Farm, Councilman Nick Mosby and the newly formed Mount Royal CDC are joining with Baltimore’s Bike Party to bring the Finish Line Festival to the Mount Royal District from 7 to 11 pm at Whitelock St. between Linden Ave. and Brookfield Ave.

In an attempt to show off the beautiful and historic neighborhood to Baltimore City residents and bring Reservoir Hill community members together, the Finish Line Festival will feature music, food trucks, Heavy Seas beer, farm-themed carnival games including a pepper eating contest, a butternut squash ring toss, a dunking booth and more. The Bike Party will arrive around 9 pm and attendees will watch as hundreds of cyclists take over the Mount Royal District. Attendees are encouraged to dress the part in their best “farm chic” attire –  overalls, top hats and feather boas!

Proceeds from the event will fund the St. Francis Neighborhood Center, Whitelock Community Farm, the Mount Royal CDC and the Baltimore Bike Party.  The St. Francis Neighborhood Center is a community-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve the high needs neighborhood of Reservoir Hill and the 21217 zip code by empowering residents through free education programs and strengthening connections within the community. The Whitelock Community Farm’s mission is to pursue affordable, sustainable fresh food sources, provide neighborhood job creation and help revitalize the neighborhood through greening and positive community activity. The mission of the Mount Royal CDC is to market, develop and strengthen the Mount Royal District. The Baltimore Bike Party is a monthly event that gathers bike riders together to enjoy a community bike riding experience through Baltimore City.



St. Francis Neighborhood Center Reaches $50,000 Fundraising Goal in 2013

(February 2014) The St. Francis Neighborhood Center is proud to announce they reached their $50,000 fundraising goal for 2013. The $50,000 goal was set to celebrate their 50 year anniversary in the Reservoir Hill community of Baltimore City.

Over 50 years ago, Father Tom Composto, the founding executive director of the St. Francis Neighborhood Center, came to the Reservoir Hill neighborhood as a young Jesuit priest and stayed for more than 45 years to serve the community. Father Tom’s mission was to find ways to give resources to the underserved neighborhood, and he remained focused on fulfilling that promise for the remainder of his life. Father Tom served as executive director of the St. Francis Neighborhood Center until his death in March 2011. Current Executive Director Christi Green decided to commemorate his life by raising $50,000 to celebrate 50 years of serving Reservoir Hill by holding fundraisers including the 50th anniversary gala, Siloball, in October 2013 and promoting giving through online wish list campaigns and direct mailings.

To read the complete press release, click here.



Recent Grants Support Our Free At-risk Youth Enrichment Programs

(January 2014) The St. Francis Neighborhood Center was recently awarded two grants from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and the Food Research and Action Center’s Maryland Hunger Solution Initiative to support the center’s free youth enrichment programs that serve at-risk children in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood of Baltimore City.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. whose mission is to help low-income and vulnerable individuals and families by providing grants to nonprofits that provide direct services awarded $25,000 for two years to support the Power Project, the center’s after school program, which provides neighborhood youth with academic intervention, homework help, education seminars, mentoring and tutoring and character development.

Read the complete press release.



The St. Francis Neighborhood Center Welcomes New Board Member

(December 2013) The St. Francis Neighborhood Center elected Lee Ann Brazelton to its Board of Directors at its monthly meeting held in November bringing the total to 11.

Brazelton, who was born and raised in Baltimore City, started her career as a social worker for mental health and social service organizations. She most recently joined Venable law firm as the new senior recruiter on the human resources team.  She has over 14 years of human resources experience in varied industries, including education, technology and healthcare. Brazelton earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and Industrial Psychology from The University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Development from Towson University. She also holds a Professional in Human Resources certification.

“We are delighted to have Lee Ann on our Board,” says Executive Director Christi Green. “She brings a wealth of human resources and leadership experience to the table, and I look forward to working with her in 2014.”

Read the complete press release.



St. Francis Neighborhood Center Celebrates 50 Years in Reservoir Hill With Siloball, A James Bond-themed Costume Party

(October 2013) The St. Francis Neighborhood Center is celebrating 50 years in Reservoir Hill and Baltimore City with a fundraising gala called Siloball. The James Bond-themed costume party takes place Sat. Oct. 26 at 7 pm at Silo Point, just in time for Halloween.

“The mission of Siloball is to raise awareness of our mission, raise funds for building improvements and program costs, and bring in a new audience of potential St. Francis supporters,” says Executive Director Christi Dodson. “Our goal is raise $50,000 for our 50th anniversary so we can be here and serve the youth of Reservoir Hill for another 50 years!”

Read the complete press release.



The 8th Annual Reservoir Hill Festival is Taking Place September 21, 2013

(August 2013) The St. Francis Neighborhood Center is gearing up for the best festival yet! Don’t miss the fun on Sat. Sept. 21 from 11 am to 7 pm on the corner of Linden Ave. and Whitelock St. in Reservoir Hill. The rain date for the event is Sun. Sept. 22.

“The mission of the festival is to bring the community together around needed resources like health care, employment, and education; good music and great food,” says Executive Director Christi Dodson. “St. Francis has been a part of Reservoir Hill for 50 years and this festival is a vital way we stay connected. I’m really looking forward to having a day of fun and togetherness with the Reservoir Hill community.”

Read the complete press release here.



The St. Francis Neighborhood Center Welcomes New Board Members

(July 2013) The St. Francis Neighborhood Center elected four new members to its Board of Directors at its monthly meeting held in June bringing the total to 10. New members include a CPA, an internship manager, a NASA scientist and an attorney.

Board members’ primary responsibilities include strategic planning, approving and monitoring the organization’s programs, ensuring effective fiscal management, fundraising, selecting and orienting new Board members and promoting St. Francis’s activities. Members serve without pay for a minimum term of three years.

Alex Blum has a B.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College and an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Baltimore. Alex has nine years of experience in public accounting at Ernst & Young, LLP and is now employed  at Rivlin, Lichter & Feldman, P.C. Alex’s background includes experience in auditing small private companies, large public corporations, nonprofits and individuals, fiduciary and corporate tax reporting. He is also serving as the Board’s treasurer.

Teara Q. Booker currently manages an agency-wide internship program for the Maryland Transit Administration. She has a B.S. in Urban Studies from Coppin State University and a M.A. in Nonprofit Management from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She comes to St. Francis with a diverse portfolio in public service, nonprofit management and community workforce development.

Melanie Burg is a contractor for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. She also mentors underprivileged students and participates in the National Society of Black Engineers.

Christina Pickrell has a double B.A. in Spanish and Political Science from the University of Delaware and a Juris Doctor in Law from the University of Baltimore. She is an associate attorney working for the law firm of Discepolo, LLP in Baltimore, MD. She comes to St. Francis with nine years of volunteer and nonprofit experience.

The current St. Francis Board includes senior staff at Johns Hopkins University, Maxim Healthcare Services and other prominent Baltimore professionals. New members join six other leaders on the Board of Directors. They are: Lauren Haney (president), Kevin Apperson (vice president), Tyra Appleby, Frederick Hiser, Carrie Green and Diane DiSalvo.



Power Project Helps At-risk Children Increase Academic Performance in 2012-2013 School Year

(June 2013)  The St. Francis Neighborhood Center, a community-based nonprofit operating in Reservoir Hill for the past 50 years, has recently released key statistics on the success of their free after school enrichment and academic program, the Power Project, for the 2012-2013 school year.

The Power Program, St. Francis’s premier program, offers a free educational after school and summer program for children ages 5 to 18 in the high need community of Reservoir Hill. At present, the Power Project serves 30 children daily. During the 2012-2013 academic year, students enrolled in the Power Project maintained an average of 82% in STEM grades as reported on Baltimore City Public School report cards, 75% of students enrolled increased their overall in-school academic performance and students maintained a program attendance rate of nearly 80%. The program provides tutoring, homework help, art, dance and sports activities.

Executive Director Christina Dodson says, “I am very excited about the results from this academic year. We are happy to help make learning fun and rewarding for our youth. I believe the next year will be even better.”

The Summer of Service program, the summer component to the Power Project, began it’s eight-week run Monday, June 24 with the help of interns, volunteers and Youth Services Workers. There are field trips planned to Genesee Valley, Port Discovery, Fort McHenry and the Baltimore Humane Society. If you would like to be involved in the program by volunteering or donating, please contact Stephanie Neal at sneal@stfranciscenter.org.



Fun-Raising at Red Maple Leads to $1,000 Towards Our 2013 Budget

(May 2013) We had a blast at our happy hour fundraiser at Red Maple last Thursday, which raised over $1,000. Celebrated dancer Niss Albaig held a free salsa lesson and DJ Stylo spun great tunes that kept our event upbeat and fun. Red Maple generously allowed us to use their space for our event and donated 20% of the bar and food sales.

Staff took donations at the door and attendees were able to browse student artwork from the Power Project. We also held a silent action of Orioles memorabilia which included framed pictures and signed baseball cards. One of the bartenders was delighted when she won!

Board President Lauren Haney gave an introduction and thanked everyone for coming and even bought a couple of the students’ prints for her apartment. Other Board members in attendance include Carrie Green and Tyra Appleby.

The event was a great way for the staff, volunteers, Board members and guests to socialize and we hope to do it again soon!