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Clarence Campbell, a West Baltimore native and the Executive Vice President of Sales at Lendistry, a minority-led and technology-enabled, small business and commercial real estate lender with Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Community Development Entity (CDE) certification, is among the newest cohort of the Board of Directors of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc.
Appointed earlier this year, Campbell is excited to contribute to the leadership team at YAP, a 46-year-old national nonprofit that provides community-based services delivered by neighborhood-based advocates as an alternative to youth detention, prison and other out-of-home treatment, therapy, and care.
“I think it’s critical that we support the communities in which we not only live, but that we work and serve in,” said Campbell. “It’s about meeting youth where they are and helping them to develop and grow. The reality is if someone didn’t take an interest in me when I was a youth, I may not have been able to develop and grow to where I’ve been able to.”
YAP partners with youth justice and child welfare systems in Maryland and 31 other states and the District of Columbia. The nonprofit is also a Baltimore Safe Streets partner, providing, a public health approach to reducing shootings and homicides in communities in Baltimore. The nonprofit’s newest Baltimore Violence Interruption initiative is a partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE) as part of an emerging Group Violence Reduction Strategy.
The new services will combine elements of YAP’s Safe Streets work with strategies it implements in Washington, D.C., where formerly incarcerated adults and other Credible Messenger staff support people have returned home from prison.
“We have our own challenges here in Baltimore,” Campbell said. “It really was the youth component that drew me to YAP.”
Campbell is not new to community involvement. He has also served on the Board of the Greater Baltimore Urban League and was a board member of Downtown Partnership. Additionally, he has led a youth basketball program for more than 25 years.
“I think it’s important that we continue to give back and support the youth and help them get on the right path,” Campbell said. “I think that’s where YAP comes into play. They have each of those bases covered. I am really encouraged by the impact that they have nationwide.”
A strong proponent of youth advocacy, Campbell played several sports as a young person, which helped him to develop several teamwork and leadership traits. He grew up with a strong family unit and has a proud sense of community, adding that it’s important for him to give back in the places where he lives and works.
“I’ve had a chance to attend my first board meeting,” Campbell said. “I see the passion that the Board of Directors have for this organization and the community. I am excited to be a part of that.”