Civic pride seen 'through children's eyes' Exhibit displays photos they took of communities' revitalization efforts

March 25, 1997|By David Mark | David Mark,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Jahiri Gunthorpe, age 10, remembers last summer as a typical one in Harlem Park that included witnessing a shooting in front of his home. But Jahiri is not the type to let crime and drugs in his community engulf him.

Last summer, he decided to help other youths -- including his twin brother, Rafik -- plant and tend a garden to make his community more appealing.

"I would like to see more people help," he quietly remarks as he stares at the garden, on a street with boarded-up apartments and littered sidewalks.

A photograph of Jahiri's garden has been included in an exhibit of children's photographs of urban revitalization at the Pratt Street Pavilion at Harborplace. The exhibit is sponsored by the Community Law Center and Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation to celebrate 10 years of legal assistance for the revitalization of Baltimore communities.

"The people in the communities have a tremendous sense of perseverance and vision," says Karen Footner, spokeswoman for the nonprofit law center. "There is just not enough money."

The exhibit displays photographs of libraries in West Baltimore, new playgrounds, beautiful churches and renovation within schools.

"We felt there was no better way to show the spirit of these communities than through these children's eyes," Footner says.

Tyresha Turner, 10, participated in the photography exhibit. She lives on West Fayette Street with her grandmother, whom she sees as her role model: "She didn't let anyone put her down."

fTC The eldest of three siblings, Tyresha helps others in her community pick up trash and do a neighborhood cleanup each summer.

Fayette Street Outreach also offers a chance for community fun with a block party every summer during the second weekend of August. "I want to see more block parties," Tyresha says as she looks at her photograph of last year's party.

"In the past, these neighborhoods have been seen as a social problem, but the real problem is economic," Footner says. "Businesses have begun to take an interest in helping these communities."

Pub Date: 3/25/97

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