Homeless Children – Across the Nation and Here in Baltimore

homeless (Photo credit: Bagunçêiro)

Across the nation, The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that approximately 550,000 unaccompanied, single young adults (up to age 24) experience a homelessness episode longer than one week – and while it’s difficult to track homeless youth, it is estimated that 380,000 are under 18 years old. Here at home, the number of Baltimore City Public School students identified as homeless doubled between 2008 – 2013; with 2,716 homeless students identified in the 2012-13 school year.

Children are considered homeless when they lack a fixed, regular and adequate night-time place of residence including:

Sharing …read more

Is Ceasefire Baltimore’s Answer?

Baltimore has seen 33 murders this year. We are 44 days into 2014. After a more hopeful 2012 where Baltimore had its 2nd lowest murder rate* since the late 1980’s this is particularly striking. Communities are reeling and wanting answers. I was at a community meeting last night that had over 500 participants. Mayor Rawlings Blake has recently announced new crime fighting strategies in her State of the City address like implementing Operation Ceasefire and opening 24 hour Youth Connection Centers.

Operation Ceasefire had three components. Recognized gang members would be brought in under probation or parole …read more

The State of the Union and the State of Inequality in the United States

As I listened to President Obama’s state of the union speech, I was struck by the continued themes related to income inequality.

Will the increase in minimum wage help people in poverty?

In a Forbes articles Robert Lenzner talked about the “Inequality Boom” and the continued decline of the middle class. He quotes social scientist Sheldon Danziger and his review of census data –

“From 1960 until 1975 the median earnings for a full time male worker rose from $36,420 to $51,670, but then slowly declined to $49,398 in 2012, when adjusted for inflation, according …read more

Dr. King’s Message is Still Relevant for All

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deutsch: 1964: Martin Luther King Português: Martin Luther King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since 1999, I have had the privilege of being involved with the organizing and planning for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Over the years, I have often received questions from MLK Day organizers about engaging more people of different racial or ethnic groups—whites, African Americans, and Latinos. The question varies:

How do we engage groups that don’t feel the day has relevance for them? How do we engage groups who fear that participating in MLK …read more

Things That Made Us Go Hmmmmmm…

Thinking RFID (Photo credit: @boetter)

In keeping with Campaign Consultation’s theme of “things that made us go hmmmmm in 2013” we have compiled a short list of some of the items that made the Eyes Wide Open team go hmmmm this year. Please add in the comments below any other events that were particularly hmmmm-worthy in 2013.

US Government Shut Down

There were numerous cringe worthy moments in the US government this year, many which continue to linger, but arguably the one that stands out the most was the 2 week shutdown of the federal government. Not only was …read more

It Takes More than an Extra Can of Pumpkin

As we all prepare to feast with family and friends, I am always drawn to thoughts of hunger in America. Over the years I have helped collect food for many projects at churches and other organizations to provide Thanksgiving meals to families that wouldn’t have any feast without help. Of course, we all know that the food banks and charities that help with the hunger epidemic all year round really need more help in the summer when all of the children are out of school. So I am always challenged with remembering to organize a food drive in the hot …read more

Poverty Brain Drain

In American society, we have certain negative associations linked with our poorest citizens. A few sentiments that I’ve heard people say out loud:

“If they try harder, they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps” “No one deserves to live off of welfare” “If I could get out of my bad situation, they can too.”

Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University explains that there is a blame-the-victim mentality, where many Americans believe that poor people continue to be poor because they are lazy, unmotivated or just not that sharp.

In reality, just the opposite is true – poverty saps brainpower. …read more

The Arc of History Bends towards Access for Everyone

For 35 years, “care” has been at the center of Baltimore-based healthcare provider, Chase Brexton’s mission. At their Cathedral Street location, they have served thousands of community members in the areas of medical care, behavioral health, dental care, pharmacy services and specialty services, to name a few.

Chase Brexton Health Services groundbreaking (Photo credit: MDGovpics)

For months, we have watched as the beautiful old Monumental Life Building on Charles Street was transformed into Chase Brexton Health Services’ new home. The 178,000 square foot building allows the service provider to throw open its doors even wider, and to better honor …read more

The Dangers of Lead Still Loom

Jamaica has had a 40% drop in its murder rate from 2009 to 2013. There are many events that may have attributed to this drop: a major drug lord arrest; an emphasis on community police, violence reduction and combating corruption; and replacing leaded gasoline with unleaded. Wait, unleaded gasoline? That’s right. From 1990-2000, Jamaica started to phase out leaded gasoline, which leads some to believe that the beneficial impact of youth with lower levels of lead poisoning is just beginning.

Leaded gas which has been banned in the US since 1995, one of TIME’s 50 worst inventions, has been linked …read more

Trimming Childhood Obesity in the U.S.

Imagine this scenario:

You are a single parent with two young children to support. Your last five dollar bill is in your pocket and pay day is tomorrow. There are two locations where you can purchase food in your neighborhood – a liquor store that sells packaged goods, and a Burger King. Your kids are hungry.

What would you do?

Many people placed in this situation would (and do) opt for the less expensive food options in their neighborhood, when forced to weigh availability and cost against nutrition. These, and many other factors, have amplified America’s obesity epidemic among low-income …read more