The Club at Collington Square is an academic and community arts-based after school program for youth ages 5 - 14 living in the Collington Square neighborhood of East Baltimore. The program provides a safe space for youth in the community to learn, grow and engage in art making activities, and seeks to shape strong, responsible, and successful youth.
The Club offers students: dinner, homework support, activities and games that strengthen academic skills, and art activities that foster creative expression and skill building in the form of visual art, performance, film, photography and writing. Through a community-based approach to art and creative expression, The Club engages both youth and adults through our arts curriculum.
This year, The Club has taken on two new exciting projects: a middle school youth-led Leadership Group, aimed at developing the leadership qualities of the students within The Club and the community, and an Adult Art Workshop program, where adult community members can creatively express themselves and learn new art making skills.
The Club is a program of the Episcopal Community Services of Maryland (ECSM), a social service non-profit that also runs a ex-offender re-entry program for men (The Jericho Program) and a pre-school for homeless children (The Ark).
The Club is located in office and community space on the ground floor of the Collington Commons Apartments, an apartment complex built three years ago at 2200 East Biddle Street in East Baltimore. In January 2010, The Club inaugurated a brand new center across the street, comprised of four renovated row homes, for the middle school program.
The Club functions in the heart of East Baltimore, an area that has previously suffered from crime related to drug activity and neglect on behalf of the city. Abandoned row homes and decrepit factory buildings still surround the Collington Commons, but The Club is working diligently together with other local organizations and institutions to rejuvenate the neighborhood and support the community’s youth.
Some of The Club's local partners include:
- The Collington Square School (Public School #97) - Most of the students at The Club attend this public school down the block from the Commons. The Club has developed a strong relationship with the school, working with them on several community events and sharing report cards to help support the students' academic achievments.
- The Collington Square Neighborhood Association - The Club and the Association mutually support each other’s work in the community, and are frequently involved in each organization’s programs. The Club has provided the Association with a meeting space at their Mura St. center for the last year, and at least two Club staff members attend each monthly meeting.
- The Dayspring House - A transitional living center for women in recovery programs and their children, located across the street from the Collington Commons. Many children living at Dayspring are participants at The Club, and many of the mothers living in the center volunteer at The Club on a regular basis and attend adult art workshops.
- The Israel Baptist Church - The Israel Baptist Church is one of the largest, most established churches in the community that has been committed to serving the community for over sixty years. They helped establish the Collington Square Non-Profit, which owns the land rented out to the Dayspring House. They run dozens of community events, and hold many events for the Collington School, such as graduation ceremonies. Many families who are participants at The Club and many residents in the Commons attend church services at Israel Baptist.
Other organizations/institutions in East Baltimore that The Club partners with include:
- E.B.D.I. - The East Baltimore Development Inc. and their community garden, run by Robert Fitzgerald, a student in the MACA class of 2010.
- Humanim - A local non-profit that provides mental and physical health services, and also holds community family events.
- The Tench Tilghman School (Public School #13) - Another local public school several blocks south who have partnered with The Club for community events such as the Extra Mile Walk, The Club's annual walk-a-thon.
- MICA's Center for Community Arts & Design (CCAD) -located at St. Wenceslaus Church, The Club has been working with MICA to develop a new youth leadership partnership in East Baltimore.
Flag hanging in front of the Club
Created by 1st - 3rd grade students at The Club and Sarah Edelsburg