Dr. Lisa Horton helps homeless childrenIn a...


Dr. Lisa Horton helps homeless children

In a sleepy Southern Illinois town, Lisa Horton watched her father, a general practitioner, treat farmers who could only pay him in collard greens. He never complained. And his daughter never forgot.

"I knew then I wanted to make a difference in people's lives," she says.

Today she has -- and in much the same way. In April, Dr. Lisa Horton formed Comprehensive Health Care for Homeless Children, a clinic affiliated with the University of Maryland Department of Pediatrics.

She first became interested in helping the young homeless after watching these children return frequently to the emergency room of a Washington hospital where she worked.

"I formed this program out of frustration. To send these children back knowing you haven't done a thing to change the situation was very difficult. So I sat down and thought: 'What do these families really need?' " says Dr. Horton, 35, who lives in Randallstown.

Their needs, she discovered, were often as basic as transportation to appointments and help navigating the medical system. Her program, which is funded through grants, provides these.

While she has seen 40 children for various illnesses, nine have never made it to their first appointment. Despite that, she refuses to be deterred.

"What does this say about me?" she asks. "I work hard and believe through dedication you can accomplish anything."

For a woman who grew up in Israel, traveled throughout Japan and now lives near Washington, Zmira Alfie Kassiday sure has taken a liking to Baltimore.

You can see it in her paintings on exhibit at the Top of the World Observation Level & Museum. Whether she's pointing her paintbrush toward the Inner Harbor or Fort McHenry, her works in oil, watercolor, pen and ink depict the city at its colorful best.

Baltimore obviously isn't Ms. Kassiday's only inspiration. In the 25 paintings in her show, she reveals how politics, war and the writings of Franz Kafka also influence her style.

Her love affair with art began at age 2, when she picked up a piece of charcoal and started drawing. After graduating from high school, she put her art career on hold while serving in the Israeli Army. But by the time she left Israel five years ago, she had made a name for herself as an artist.

Her paintings now hang in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Republican senators Hank Brown of Colorado and Alan Simpson of Wyoming have her work. And one of her paintings won first prize in a competition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington last year.

"I didn't establish myself as an artist to be famous," explains the thirtysomething painter. "I have to put something on empty canvas."

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