10:30 AM EST, December 13, 2012
As a Baltimore native, I have many fond memories of growing up here in the 1960s. But after being away from my beloved home town for more than 30 years, I recently returned and found a very different place. Five years later I have come to accept that Baltimore now is not the Baltimore where I grew up.
I have been deeply saddened by the level of violence, put off by the filth on so many streets and overwhelmed by number of people asking for money when I walk to the Safeway on 25th Street from my office on St. Paul. A final insult, which I took personally, was when I mailed a birthday card containing $30 to my brother — and he never got it.
While there are many good things going on in Baltimore, I have wondered how they could ever balance all the bad. How could a city with so many problems ever get on its feet? I lost heart for a beloved city that seemed hopelessly mired in its problems.
Recently, however, I experienced a new glimmer of hope when I attended a small, community-based fundraising event in Charles Village for Belvedere Assisted Living/ Belvedere Housing. Christina Flowers, group's founder, has a true heart for the people she serves, whose most basic needs otherwise would go unmet.
Ms. Flowers started her agency with very thin resources, and she is currently serving 42 people with housing and other services. The organization is currently looking to expand its operation and move to the next level.
While she still needs support and assistance, I have great confidence in her. She makes me think Baltimore can conquer its problems, and turned me into a believer in my city again.
Sally Staehle, Baltimore
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