Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development exemplifies the effective use of public engagement at the community level. The video profiles the powerful collaboration among parents, families, and a network of community organizations in Baltimore, Maryland, to create an infrastructure for community improvement and student achievement. The story of B.U.I.L.D. is followed by discussions among two parents, an administrator, and a teacher and among a group of experienced public engagement practitioners.
B.U.I.L.D. grew out of the commitments by parents, families, and community organizations in Baltimore, Maryland, to create a partnership around the issues of security for children, their education, and the academic and physical challenges facing a large urban school district. It is one of the largest predominantly African American local community organizations in the country, with a membership drawn mainly from religious congregations. Over its twenty-year history, it has championed community involvement in education and pioneered large-scale initiatives for change.
In 1995 B.U.I.L.D. helped create the Child First Authority in response to parents' concerns about education and their stated need for after-school activities for their children. Child First, which is funded through contributions from organizations that receive city subsidies, now has after-school centers in eight schools, with plans to expand to more schools in the coming years. Parents coordinate and teach in the programs, in cooperation with each school's faculty. Parents working together at Child First centers are now able to mobilize around emerging issues facing their children and their schools. Child First's organizing strategy reflects B.U.I.L.D.'s affiliation with the Industrial Areas Foundation, a national network of community advocacy groups.