The Stadium School Youth Dreamers, Inc. have been working hard for almost eight long years creating the youth center that will be finished with construction in March 2009. Our middle school Youth Dreamers meet every Wednesday in Project Class at the Stadium School where they write grants and letters to potential funders, plan after school programs and school-based fundraisers, and volunteer in the community at places like The Shepherd’s Clinic where students work in the offices organizing files and answering phone calls. They also volunteer at My Sister’s Place, a shelter for women who were victims of domestic abuse. The kid’s visits include cooking healthy lunches for them, doing manicures, and putting on fashion shows.
Many of the middle school students that go on to high school come back to help out. They often take on leadership roles such as supervisors of our already up and running after school and summer programs. There are also many Youth Dreamers that go on to great universities like the University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Towson University, College of Notre Dame, Clarke University, and more. They still support the Youth Dreamers and help out at events and fundraisers and also serve on the Board of Directors.
In 2005, we bought the house that will be the site of our future youth center. The house has been vacant for at least 20 years so there was a lot of rebuilding and construction that needed to be done. This construction cost us $325,000 but with the help of so many supporters, the construction of our house is almost done! The money came from the massive letter and grant writing from the youth. The youth center is also designed by the youth with help from our pro bono architect Laura Penza from Penza-Bailey Associate Architects. The construction of the house could not have happened without the help of Andy Powell from Towson University who acts as our pro bono general contractor. He is an active member on our board and teaches us about every phase our youth center is going through. Kate McShane-Oeming from Struever Bros. Eccles and Rouse helped us gather over 200 volunteers to work on the construction of our house on two of their service days. With the help of the youth and our many supporters, partners, and community members over the past seven years, we have accomplished a lot!
I think that we came a long way. We are constantly building relationships between youth and adults, providing opportunities for youth to volunteer in the neighborhood, and have gained support from hundreds of people. When we first started, most people didn’t believe that we could build our own youth center. But now, with our youth center almost complete, we are living proof that youth can be leaders in our society and are capable of doing anything!