Annapolis Alderman Cynthia A. Carter is lobbying city police for part of their state grant money to take children in the housing projects of her ward to the symphony or enroll them in art and dance classes.
The Ward 6 Democrat wants some of the remaining $20,000 that city police must spend by Dec. 31 on the state-designated Hotspot area in her ward and Ward 8 to teach children about arts and culture. The money is from a $115,000 grant that the state gave to the city Police Department in July 1997 to fight crime in those communities.
The children "don't know that they don't have to be here," Carter said, referring to the low-income communities. "To them, everything is confined to what they see here, and this is where they have to stay. Let's get them out of here. Let's let them know that they're not limited in what they do. Let them enlarge their horizons."
Carter said she will describe her proposal to Capt. Zora Lykken, the department's Hotspot coordinator.
Lykken said yesterday that, of the remaining $20,000, about $2,000 is set aside to provide funding for activities "to encourage members of the community to come together and take care of their community."
Part of that $2,000 has been budgeted for Christmas parties in public housing communities in the Hotspot area, including Eastport Terrace and Harbor House, Lykken said.
After Jan. 1, the department will receive at least $115,000 more from the state, she said.
Lykken said she would consider Carter's request.
"There's been a lot of studies that show that, among people of lower-income groups, there's a tremendous amount of frustration about their view of being held captive within that lower, socioeconomic culture," Lykken said. "And if we can demonstrate to kids that this is not something that they are destined to for the rest of their lives, if taking them to Maryland Hall [for the Creative Arts] would help to expand their vision and give them ideas about changing their potential fate in life, then I'm all for it."
The Police Department is working with Carter on organizing bus trips to Sandy Point State Park so children can see the Christmas show "Lights on the Bay," Lykken said.
Carter said she is pushing for more because she finds it sad that places such as Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts are minutes away but remain inaccessible to many children in her ward.
"I don't think many of them have been given the opportunity to attend a concert or a symphony," Carter said. "Most parents can't afford it."
Robert Rogers, block captain of the Jackson Street Neighborhood Watch in the Hotspot area and a member of a group that works with juvenile first-time offenders, said many of the youths with whom he works would benefit from exposure to the arts.
"There are potential artists here that never get the chance [to take lessons] because it costs a lot," Rogers said. "And some of them have never experienced anything like that, and when you introduce them to it, they say, 'Hey, I can do this,' and they find something new to do that gives them something that really grabs their interest, instead of learning only from what they see in the neighborhood."
Pub Date: 12/10/98