Ericka Alston-Buck does not sit around waiting for permission. In the wake of the unrest that followed the arrest and death of Freddie Gray last year, she saw a need in West Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood -- and she filled it using a vacant laundromat. Ericka is now famous in that neighborhood for founding the Kids Safe Zone, a center where children and teenagers go to read, eat, study and play after school and during the summer. Ericka, who also serves as director of Youth Services, Violence Prevention & Community Outreach at the Penn-North Community Resource Center, talked about growing up in Baltimore, the unexpected founding of the Kids Safe Zone, balancing commitments to her work and her family, and exposing the children of West Baltimore to a world outside of what they know.
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