Elev8 Baltimore

Elev8 Baltimore students Derries Biggers Jr. and Kwanashae Pitts


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Fall 2009 marked the launch of Elev8 Baltimore, a four-year initiative designed to improve educational and social outcomes for middle grade youth and their families in East Baltimore. It is an ambitious effort to transform four neighborhood schools in Middle East, a community comprised of several neighborhoods located near the Johns Hopkins University Medical Campus.

Through the middle of the twentieth century, Middle East was home to stable, livable neighborhoods was a center of African American community life in Baltimore. As manufacturing jobs left the community and the neighborhood's aging housing stock deteriorated, so did the well-being of its residents. By the beginning of this decade, the neighborhood population was declining and more than two thirds of the houses were abandoned.

The losses extend far beyond bricks and mortar: The academic achievement, health and social development of neighborhood children and youth reflect declining opportunities and the concurrent rise in neighborhood crime, drug abuse and unemployment.

In the face of such challenges, residents and families in the community speak about the prosperity of the past and maintain a strong sense of hope for the future.

Elev8 Baltimore is a program of the East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI), an innovative public-private partnership established in 2002 to facilitate one of the most comprehensive, groundbreaking community redevelopment efforts in America. EBDI and its partners- including the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Institutions, the Baltimore Community Foundation, the Goldseker Foundation, and others - are committed to transforming neighborhood life by expanding housing, economic, health and educational resources and opportunities available to children, youth, families and other residents.


Elev8 Baltimore provides each school with the resources to:

  • Offer out-of-school-time enrichment activities before school, after school, on weekends and during the summer months, all designed to link with middle grade curricula and instruction, increase student engagement and connect young people to positive adult role models.
  • Connect students with high-quality mentoring programs through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland.
  • Expand on-site health services; manage chronic health conditions; and provide immunizations, family planning, dental, vision and mental health services.
  • Implement a health education curriculum that connects to classroom instruction and out-of-school-time learning.
  • Provide healthy activities, such as extracurricular sports programs, visual and performing arts, and nutrition programs.
  • Promote a positive school climate to improve social and peer relationships and interactions, including the creation of a safe space for peer-to-peer mental health prevention strategies.
  • Expand mental health prevention programming and individual and group counseling support.
  • Increase parent access to family income supports; opportunities for workforce development; financial literacy; housing stability; and engagement in schools.
  • Create a safe environment for ongoing parent and family engagement; parent education workshops and trainings; and development of parent volunteers, leaders and advocates.
Each Elev8 Baltimore school is assigned a site manager and a family advocate responsible for collaborating with the principal and staff; building relationships with students and families; responding to the needs of students, parents and school staff; promoting the integration of learning, health and family support strategy; and developing a family engagement plan to facilitate connections among families, the school and the broader community.


An Elev8 Baltimore Success Story


Elev8 Baltimore 'Friendraising' Event

"Elev8 Baltimore held its first 'friendraising' activity in October, hosting a festive and informative event at Humanim at The American Brewery.

The event, dubbed 'Experience Elev8 Baltimore' attracted nearly 100 guests, who had been brought together to hear and learn more about the initiative, its goals and the people affected by what we do every day."

Click here to read more about this event, on the Elev8 Baltimore website.

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