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Living Classrooms ‘Changing the Game’ in East Baltimore

When Baltimore City Public Schools are closed Healthy Cities Game Changers Initiative offers a safe space for health, wellness and play

12/8/2017, 6 a.m.
LLiving Classrooms Foundation has partnered with Morgan Stanley to provide local Baltimore families with wellness, nutrition and sports programming as ...
Living Classrooms Foundation staff partnered with Morgan Stanley volunteers on October 19 and October 20, 2017 to launch the Game Changers Initiative, which will provide more than 300 local Baltimore students with wellness, nutrition and sports programming during the 25 plus weekdays during the 2017-2018 academic year when schools are closed. Courtesy Photo/Living Classroom

— Living Classrooms Foundation has partnered with Morgan Stanley to provide local Baltimore families with wellness, nutrition and sports programming as part of Morgan Stanley’s Healthy Cities Initiative. The Game Changers Initiative will educate 300 of the most at-risk children, youth and families living within an impoverished area of East Baltimore with quality programming during Baltimore City school breaks throughout the 2017-18 school year.

Since 1985, Living Classrooms Foundation has worked to strengthen communities and inspire young people to achieve their potential through hands-on education, job training, and health and wellness programs, using urban, natural, and maritime resources as “living classrooms.”

Nearly 200 students from kindergarten to high school joined Living Classrooms staff and volunteers from Morgan Stanley and local nonprofit partners at UA House at Fayette, which is operated by Living Classrooms for the Game Changers initiative kickoff when schools were closed for professional development on October 19 and October 20, 2017.

Volunteers from Morgan Stanley, Playworks Maryland and Freestate Challenge Academy led activities throughout both days, including yoga, meditation, dance, and activities related to basketball, soccer, dodge ball, running, and football. Each student was also served a healthy breakfast and lunch, and provided education lessons on healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.

One in four children in Baltimore faces food insecurity and many students receive their only meals of the day at school. During the academic year, Baltimore City Public School students experience over 25 weekdays when schools are closed. This creates a critical need for healthy meals, supervised activities, and an opportunity to use that time to affect positive health outcomes for students and families through engagement in meaningful, quality physical education and nutrition programming.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Living Classrooms as part of Healthy Cities Baltimore to give local students the resources needed for a healthy start to life,” said Joan Steinberg, Global Head of Philanthropy, Morgan Stanley. “Thanks to collaboration with partners like Living Classrooms, we’re able to further our impact for children in underserved Baltimore neighborhoods.”

The Game Changers Initiative is a part of Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities, which is designed to fuel innovation by coordinating the wellness, nutrition and play resources, which will strengthen a child’s healthy start to life.

Living Classrooms’ Healthy Cities Game Changers Initiative is designed to expand the scope and scale of Living Classrooms’ existing initiative to bring nutrition, fitness and wellness education to a targeted area of East Baltimore known as the Baltimore Target Investment Zone (TIZ).

Living Classrooms’ TIZ initiative is a strategic comprehensive community effort to disrupt the cycle of generational poverty that concentrates core education, workforce development, and health and wellness programs within an impoverished area of East Baltimore. The TIZ is home to 35,000 people, including: 9,100 students in 18 schools, and over 2,500 public housing units that span 122 acres, including Pleasant View Gardens and Perkins Homes. It encompasses the neighborhoods surrounding Patterson Park and Johns Hopkins Hospital, Oldtown/Middle East, the Fayette Street Corridor and McElderry Park. These neighborhoods struggle with low educational achievement, high poverty and unemployment, high-density crime and recidivism rates, and chronic health problems.

“Having access to a place where their children can go and not just be safe, but also fed a nutritious meal and engaged in meaningful academic and athletic activities when schools are not in session, is quite literally a “game changer” for many of the families that we serve in the Baltimore Target Investment Zone, especially for those who may not otherwise have a plan for their children’s care” said James Piper Bond, President and CEO of Living Classrooms Foundation. “We are grateful to Morgan Stanley to have this opportunity to empower our students to begin making smart choices about their own wellness.”

The Healthy Cities Game Changers initiative will improve health outcomes in Living Classrooms’ Baltimore Target Investment Zone (TIZ), an area of highly concentrated poverty, by capitalizing on out-of-school time with exemplary programming and healthy meals.

For more information about Healthy Cities Baltimore, visit: www.morganstanley.com/about-us/giving-back/healthy-cities/baltimore and follow #HealthyCities.