Since July, a team of workers clad in purple shirts have been on the streets of Baltimore in pursuit of 180 young men at-risk because of their involvement in the drug trade and gangs. These outreach workers are with Roca, a new program which aims to help these men, some of whom are among the most violent criminals in the city, turn their lives around.
For three decades, Roca has worked in 21 communities in Massachusetts. It’s now a nationally recognized model of how behavioral health, education, job training and engagement can successfully transform the lives of those who are caught in a perpetual cycle of poverty and crime. Mayor Catherine Pugh secured four years of funding for the program with nearly $17 million dollars, mostly in private donations.
Molly Baldwin, Baltimore native and the founder and CEO of Roca, joins Tom in the studio to discuss the organization’s plans in Baltimore. Later, Tom talks with Tyrone Roper of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, which works closely with the program.