Students offer art to help restart veterans' lives

High school students from around Baltimore County were among 300 people who came to a church in Homeland on Veterans Day for a good cause.

The event was "re-StART with Art," an art auction and gala at Church of the Redeemer in Homeland to benefit Baltimore Station.

The south Baltimore residential recovery program treats men, mostly war veterans, who battle homelessness, substance abuse and lack of job skills.

The students, most members of their schools' National Art Honor Society chapters, contributed paintings and photos, as well as specially painted doors that symbolized doors to recovery for the homeless and addicted men.

The students also served as volunteers, working alongside residents of Baltimore Station.

"It's all about helping them build new futures," said Jenna Rohde, a junior at Franklin High in Reisterstown.

Also donating art to be auctioned at the annual fundraiser were professional artists and Baltimore Station graduates, as well as students from the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Federal Hill restaurants donated food. Second Chance, a nonprofit retail store in Baltimore, donated the nine doors. Second Chance sells salvage materials and uses the profits to provide job skills training to unemployed people.

"I'm interested in how much it will sell for," said Colleen Coleman, a Catonsville High School senior, who painted a door that showed a girl surrounded by colors and shapes.

Coleman said her door was intended as a message of hope, to show "how the things all around you can be inspiring."

"It's a great cause," said Mount Washington resident Alex Kramer, a co-chai of the event.

Clean and sober, and wearing his Baltimore Station T-shirt, Vietnam War veteran Jeff Chaney was one of the residents working at the event.

He had something to prove.

"I can give 100 percent," said the Baltimore native, 58, who served time for assault before learning about the program.

Residents can live there for up to two years, as long as they remain drug-and-alcohol-free.

Chaney isn't planning on leaving any time soon.

"This is the longest I've ever been sober," he said.

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