Sharing Some Penn North Love

    James “Jim Bob” Smith, Penn North Safe Streets Outreach Worker (L) with Penn North Resident Marquise Smith (R)

    By Baltimore City Safe Streets Penn North/Youth Advocate Programs Crime Prevention Coordinator Wayne Brewton

    While planning a shoe giveaway, I had no idea how our Penn North community would react. Will they be appreciative? Will they be respectful?

    Thanks to a special discount from Shoe City in Baltimore’s Patapsco Village Shopping Center, the Baltimore City Safe Streets Penn North/Youth Advocate Programs team spent the last few days giving away 60 pairs of shoes.

    The reason why these two questions constantly invaded my thought pattern is simple. Penn North is the epicenter of the Freddie Gray uprising in 2015. I remember what the world said about the Penn North Community back then on YouTube and CNN.

    Surprise, Surprise WORLD! Not only were our young kings appreciative and respectful, they were deeply engaged with our theme of changing the community norm.

    Not only do they want Safe Streets they want them NOW. You see our young guys want to be a part of helping us stop the shooting; they want to LIVE. Thank you, young kings for sharing in our love.


    Editor’s Note: YAP, which celebrates 45 years in 2020 of providing alternatives to youth incarceration/institutionalization, is Baltimore City Safe Streets’ Penn North neighborhood nonprofit partner. Safe Streets works as a public health approach to reducing shootings and homicides in communities in Baltimore City. Safe Streets staff are men and women who were formerly justice-involved, which lends to their credibility and ability to establish relationships and build rapport to change behaviors and norms of individuals with backgrounds similar to theirs. Safe Streets Penn North/YAP Crime Prevention Coordinator Wayne Brewton returned to the community in 2017 after serving 38 years in prison. Wayne shared his story in this video during another Safe Streets community event. Wayne Brewton, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. Baltimore City Safe Streets Crime Prevention Coordinator