Whether it's through the Johns Hopkins
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
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,
"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
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
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
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
"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