G. Marie Long is adviser and friend to teen-age fathers
When G. Marie Long was asked to work with teen-age fathersshe had one immediate concern: What if they couldn't relate to her?
As coordinator of Family and Children's Services' Adolescent Fathers Program, she could, after all, be seen as an authority figure.
And much as she hated to admit it, she was old enough to be their grandmother. (She refuses, however, to divulge her exact age.)
L Three years and 138 boys later, her concerns seem unfounded.
Instead, Ms. Long has taken on the role of adviser, listener and friend to fathers at the four city schools currently involved in the program.
Mixing support with education and entertainment, she hopes to help these teens see the value of bonding with their children.
"The incidence of teen-age pregnancy is astronomical in the city," says Ms. Long, a social worker who lives in Southwest Baltimore.
"There are many programs designed for adolescent mothers, but there are very few designated primarily for young fathers."
As the mother of two grown daughters, she can relate to the
pressures parents face.
She says, "We try to be there for them. When you see these young men take a meaningful part in their child's life, it's very
gratifying." Some days Bill Bond feels Warholesque. Others he envisions himself modern-day Monet strolling through Giverny.
As the window designer for Central Library of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, he brings such whims to life on a brightly decorated block of Cathedral Street.
For the past 25 years, he has been the brainchild behind the displays, including the current garden of blooming poppies, lilies and marigolds.
"People react strongly to them," says Mr. Bond, 50, a Maryland Institute, College of Art graduate who lives in Medfield. "I get a lot of satisfaction from that."
Some displays have been so attractive that passers-by have even inquired about buying them, he says.
Little do they know that to save money he often paints over previous backdrops and incorporates such ordinary materials as paint can lids into his creations.
On the average, he spends two days on each of the 12 windows, changing them every six weeks. With a department that's been whittled down from seven to one, that leaves him little time to waste.
Only once, however, did he face a real time crunch. Several years ago, the library decided to tell the story of "The Nutcracker" through window displays. In addition to the backdrops, Mr. Bond found himself with 48 wooden figures to paint by early December.
"That was one deadline," he says, "I wasn't sure I was going to make."