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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 10, 2005 | Vol. 35 No. 6
Helping Neighbors in Need

Oleg Tarkovsky, clinical supervisor of the United Way-funded Woodbourne Center's Children's Diagnostic Treatment Center on East Fayette Street.

East Baltimore services are among those that benefit from donations

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Whether it's through the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute or the many volunteer activities carried out by Hopkins employees, improving the health and well being of the residents of the East Baltimore community is a major focus of the university and health system.

Funds donated to the Central Maryland United Way campaign, also, play a vital role in improving an area historically overwhelmed by health and social problems, including crime, unemployment and substance abuse.

The immediate area surrounding the Johns Hopkins East Baltimore campus — which officially kicks off its 2005 United Way campaign today — is home to more than a dozen United Way-affiliated agencies that help address the community's human service needs.

These agencies offer a wide range of services including job training, youth counseling, housing assistance, mental health treatment and family planning. Representatives of three of these neighboring agencies — Woodbourne Center, the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training, and Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland — will be at the East Baltimore annual leadership breakfast at 8 a.m. on Oct. 19 in the Turner Concourse.

Patricia Brown, president of Johns Hopkins Health Care and chair of Johns Hopkins Medicine's United Way campaign, said that it's important in this period of giving to spotlight such vital organizations that people literally drive past while coming into work.

"By giving to the United Way, we should know that we are not giving to strangers; rather, we are giving to the very community in which we work every day," Brown said. "Further, by giving to United Way, we further our own mission of providing services to our community. As a mission-driven organization, we understand what it means to do all that we can to improve the lives of people in need. Giving to the United Way just complements the work we otherwise do day in and day out," she said.

The Woodbourne Center, one of the five oldest child welfare organizations in the United States, is a private agency that serves severely emotionally troubled adolescents by providing a comprehensive range of programs and services tailored to fit their individual needs. Located on East Fayette Street, Woodbourne's Children's Diagnostic Treatment Center has a 90-day diagnostic and treatment program serving 48 children, ages 6 to 14, who are unable to stay in their homes or current placements due to serious personal crisis and/or family disruption.

The center also offers a Bridges program, which is a short-term, intensive residential program for children, ages 9 to 15, who are at risk of psychiatric hospitalization or are in need of respite from residential programs, foster care or home settings.

Chris Bonner, the center's senior director or programs, said that Woodbourne provides not only vital treatment but a safe haven where these children can get on the right track and have a better chance for a healthy, productive adulthood.

"In this particular area, there are lots of kids who are the victims of abuse and neglect," Bonner said. "In some cases, their families are unable to take care of them, and they need a safe place to go before we can determine if they can return to their families or move on to somewhere where they can be looked after, such as a foster home."

Founded in 1993, the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training, located on North High Street, provides job training, education and housing services for veterans. The center estimates that there are more than 17,000 homeless persons in the city and that 20 percent to 30 percent of them are veterans. In addition to the large number of homeless veterans, there is a significant population of veterans on the verge of homelessness who have psychological distress and substance abuse issues. The primary causes that have led to homelessness among veterans are post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological issues.

Currently, MCVET serves more than 250 veterans daily, through four programs: a day drop-in shelter, a short-term emergency shelter (13 weeks), a transitional housing program (up to two years) and 80 single-room occupancy apartments. The facility also offers a safe place for veterans to deal with substance abuse recovery, and mental and physical health problems. Residents receive meals, showers, counseling and job services. The average length of stay in the program is approximately 24 months.

Since its founding in 1960, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland has served the homebound who are incapacitated, whether temporarily or long-term, by providing nutritious meals and daily contact with a volunteer, which the agency views as an important social interaction and a link to the community.

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland delivers two meals a day, Monday to Friday, to people who are unable to cook or shop for themselves. Last year, more than 3,300 Meals on Wheels volunteers and staff delivered 823,621 meals to 3,566 clients within the Central Maryland service area.

Several of the agencies close to the JHMI campus have partnered with Johns Hopkins, such as the Hispanic Apostolate.

Since 1963, the Hispanic Apostolate, through support from Catholic Charities, has provided educational, social and pastoral services to Hispanics and other immigrants in the area. Health clinics, sponsored by volunteer physicians and dentists, have helped address the medical needs of the growing Hispanic population. Through collaborations with Johns Hopkins, the center has helped test educational materials about cancer screening for which there is a great need; incidence rates for breast and cervical cancer are increasing among this population, and many women have no knowledge of Pap smears or mammograms.

The other United Way agencies in close proximity to the East Baltimore campus are the Baltimore Medical System, Catholic Charities of Baltimore: Immigration Legal Services, Christopher Place Employment Academy, Civic Works, Joseph Center, Jubilee Baltimore, Senior Center Plus, Southeast Community Organization and WorkFirst.

The United Way of Central Maryland funds many other programs that support East Baltimore, although they are not located there.

"I think that it's important to note the diversity of work being done through these agencies," Brown said. "It's not just about one issue; it's about all the needs of the communities to thrive and be successful. We need to ensure that the safety net is comprehensive, to include health care services and other services to the poor, the homeless, the abused, the mentally ill, as well as training to move people through from dependence to independence," she said. "This group of agencies, together, shows you the diversity of the needs being met by the United Way, and the comprehensiveness of its work in the community."

The Johns Hopkins Medicine United Way campaign, which begins today, will last two weeks. For more information, including how to donate online, go to


East Baltimore Kickoffs

The 2005 "Helping People in Need" United Way of Central Maryland Campaign gets started in East Baltimore with kickoffs scheduled for the School of Medicine all day Monday, Oct. 10, at various building entrances, and at the School of Nursing on Monday, Oct. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Carpenter Room.

Look for announcements at your work site, or go to for more information and updates.


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